Culture Exchange at its Best

October 3rd, 2016 by | Tags: , , | No Comments »

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Shortly after I arrived in Bamenda almost two years ago, I showed Hilda and Ruth how to make pizza.  Last month, I showed Hilda how to make brownies.  Hilda asked me to show her again how to make Americans’ two beloved dishes and also teach her friends.  So, I came to her house this past weekend and showed them how to make pizza and brownies.

The moment showed culture exchange at its best.  When I came to the house, I was greeted with a Cameroonian dish, fish with groundnut sauce.  When we finished eating the Cameroonian dish, I proceeded to teach them how to make pizza and brownies.  As we cooked throughout the evening, we shared various cultural differences.  “In Cameroon, there are many cows and goats.  Why is cheese not produced here?” I asked.

“It’s just not part of our culture,” said Hilda.

“How does the brownie taste?” I asked one woman.

“It tastes very sweet,” she said.

We then discussed how Cameroonians don’t like many of the American meat dishes, such as BBQ pork or steak because they taste too sweet.  Meanwhile, when they served baton de manioc with the fish with groundnut sauce, I was blunt and told them that I do not like it at all, and when I ate it for the last time in Mengong, I said, “Never again!” although I did recently eat some fried baton de manioc, which I enjoyed very much as it tasted different – it tasted like mozzarella sticks.  Hilda understood my sentiments about not liking baton de manioc as there are American dishes that she does not like to eat.  In every culture, we develop our own palette and become accustomed to certain tastes as we grow up eating certain food based on what our families and communities cook.

However, they all enjoyed the pizza and brownies so much as they made comments such as, “This is so good,” and “We’re going to make this.”  Two of the Cameroonians had note pads and wrote down directions on how to cook both dishes.

One asked, “Will you make pizza and brownies for your send off party?”

I’m not sure if the question was a joke or serious because send offs are traditionally organized by people who are saying good bye to the person who is leaving, and I responded to the person saying, “I’m not organizing the send off.  Ruth and Samuel are.”  Either way, the question was still flattering because it meant that the person liked the dishes so much that the person wanted more.

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