From Kristin Hammett
You all are so sweet! Thanks for the many cards, gifts, and emails for my birthday. It sure made it extra special. What fun it has been to read your questionnaires! I feel like I am sitting down with each of you and catching up or getting to know you. For the next few months, I want to take the time to answer the questions you asked. There is a list of over a dozen questions, which should be fun to answer.
#1 What is it like to cook & bake there?
Well, I love to cook and bake! I do as much as I can. With the World Cup Outreach around the corner, I’ve been doing an extra lot of cooking and freezing to save time over the next month, so this is a good question to start with!
It took me a few moments to think about what is actually different. It really becomes second nature! One difference is that everything is in metric. But, if you have U.S. measuring cups, spoons, and recipes – cooking and baking is not much different than in the States at all (if you can find the ingredients). Another difference is that butter isn’t sold in sticks, it’s sold in a 500 gram (just over a 1lb) block. So to measure you can weigh it on a scale, you can smash it in a measuring cup, you can use a liquid/solid displacement method, or you can eyeball it. I’ve done all four. 🙂 If you’re using a South African recipe, then obviously all your measurements will be in metric. It might call for a 250 ml container of cream, for example, or 15 ml of cornflour (cornstarch). The oven temps are also in Celsius. But I’ve found that you begin to memorize things after a while and it becomes second nature. Or you can keep a ‘cheater’ magnet on the fridge. Or you can sneak on the computer and Google it! Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone that. 🙂
Some ingredients are different, but we are very blessed to live in a nation that has so much compared to the rest of the continent, really. We are also very blessed to have modern grocery stores too. There are different kinds of flours. They don’t use plain white flour to bake with, they use cake flour – in fact I can’t even find plain white flour. There is also a nutty wheat flour, a self-rising flour, a brown bread flour, a semolina flour – to name a few I recall seeing on the shelf.
You can get imported Pillsbury here, but it is usually over $5 for a cake mix! We can’t get chocolate chips, but we find a couple chopped up dark chocolate bars are a great substitute. Brown sugar here is very different. It is very coarse, and very dark, and not always available. Sometimes, I will just make my own. Most ice cream here is made with vegetable fat (read: shortening). It can be quite unappetizing when you realize what you are putting in your mouth, but a little of Grandma Pat’s hot fudge (actually completely drowning the ice cream) makes anything better!
In previous years, Mexican food items have been scarce and/or expensive. It is starting to become more popular now. My family loves Mexican food! Just a few months ago, I was overjoyed to find a whole display of Ortega products from the USA for a surprisingly reasonable price! I really wanted to kiss the cans of black beans, but I refrained. 🙂 We hope that it isn’t a one time thing!
If you want to experience it for yourself, you’ll just have to VISIT!!!
On a personal note, Luke is 18 months old today! What a joy he is. George’s birthday is on Tuesday – and it’s shaping up to be fun!
Ministry-wise, we look forward to the arrival of Jon, Sam, and Ben in the next several days. Much preparation has been done, and there is still much to do! Please intercede with us. The real work will only be done on our knees. It has been a busy month. Sometimes, at the end of the month, it is hard to remember all that has transpired! There is a world within our reach that needs to know Jesus. The Heavens declare His glory – how can we be silent?