Mrs. BurgerDogBoy treated me (us) to a cooking class in Portland, recently, held at Whole Foods – Fremont, conducted by local cultural ambassadors, Spice of Africa. This was a birthday present for me, and what a grand idea it was. We had pre-selected Kenyan cuisine (one could also choose the foods of Cameroon or Nigeria), and the class was held from 5-8p on a Saturday night, with an intimate audience of about a dozen participants..
Our lead instructor, Wambui Machua, and her trusty Kenyan flat-bread expert, “Edward”, led us through a background of growing up in Kenya, and the foodstuffs of daily life there.
We took a hands-on approach to making the traditional wheat flat-bread, rolling, kneading, and marking with a B, producing fancy-pants swirls of dough, before Edward told us he was only teasing, and we smashed them back down into circular thin shapes to be pan-fried. Next came prepping and sauteing collard greens, with onion, a little garlic powder, and tomatoes. These simmered on the stove while we worked on a traditional corn bread, basically corn flour stirred into boiling water, until it absorbs, bakes in a pot, and comes out a spongy meal loaf.
(Editor’s side note: Nobody, but nobody, makes better collard greens than Mrs. BurgerDogBoy. She always makes a huge batch and we freeze several portions for ‘later.’ Think I’ll have some for Sunday breakfast!)
The main course was a ground beef (YES!) casserole with mixed vegetables and Africa spices. As Kenya is on the east coast of Africa, its cuisine was influenced by both travelers from nearby India, and from Portuguese explorers back in the day. It’s an interesting combination.
We had a great time in this class, and have been meaning to do cooking classes together for some time. Can’t wait for the next one!