Last Friday the host mothers of the students in each language class got together and showed us how to cook different Mozambican dishes. Matapa is basically a sauce made from pounded cassava leaves, peanuts, coconut milk, and other spices. It is eaten over rice or chima, a sort of heavy dough made from corn flour. Couve is the name for greens that are finely chopped and combined with peanuts and coconut milk, and it too is served with rice or chima. I like both matapa and couve quite a lot—they are at least as good as plov!
In addition, Mozambicans (at least here in Namaacha) eat a lot of fish, which you fry whole, and chicken, which you buy live and then kill and pluck yourself. Several of my fellow trainees have been through the rite of passage of a killing a chicken already. While I wouldn’t say I’m eager to try it myself, I think it will be useful to learn how so that I can eat chicken when I’m living on my own at my site. I did, however, cook stew with chicken feet in it. They seem to be way more work to eat than is worth it: you put the whole foot in your mouth, suck off the skin and what little meat is there, and then spit out the bones.
I also eat a lot of fried potatoes, eggs, pasta and delicious fluffy bread. My family also frequently has green salad with tomatoes and different kinds of soup. Snacks, or lanches, seem to be an important part of the Mozambican day, so our mothers always pack our lunches with crackers, juice boxes, cookies and cake. On our breaks at class, the trainees are always trading food like in elementary school. Usually I am fed a second lanche when I come home, like afternoon tea, and we sometimes we don’t eat dinner until 8:30 or 9, just before bedtime.