Sunday, 4 March 2012

Fufu Level 1

Cookery lessons began in earnest this week. I can now make a “Light Soup” (I’m still not sure why it is light) and have assisted in the amazing chemistry involved in producing Konkonte which is a poor man’s TZ, also known as “Face the wall” ( and I’m not convinced anyone knows why!) It is made with Corn dough which is white & partly fermented. You heat it with water until boiling and fluid and then the exciting part………….it swells up into a massive ball when you pour in the cassava flour and needs a lot of beating to keep it lump free.

Well you can imagine what a mess mine looked before Louisa gave it some “elbow grease”. No wonder Ghanaian women are so fit. Cooking staple foods is very hard work and involves long periods of pounding, beating and stirring. This is good exercise for me so I shall continue with the training. I’m determined to reach Level 2 before Easter.
Friday saw my first efforts at Fufu pounding! This is small scale at Level 1 but I’m assured by Louisa, my coach, that I shall progress to a standing position with two hands round a much longer pestle and a deeper, wider mortar. (I don’t want any unseemly comments about this, thank you. This is a serious stage in my Ghanaian induction……..better late than never!)

Again, it’s all about getting the lumps out. I was really working hard at this and making virtually no impression on the white mass of cassava and yam in the mortar. When the expert took over it was incredible and much more like a creative art form than cookery.
( I expect a top chef would argue they are the same.) The timing of turning the ball between bashes with the pestle is crucial as you can tell by looking at some people’s permanently damaged finger nails. To do this
                                      in pairs involves massive trust in the teamwork. Hitting your own fingers is one thing but crushing a friends knuckles would be hard to live with.

It tasted wonderful, like very, very smooth elastic mashed potato and we ate pork, not dog, with it this week!

By the way, it was the football tournament this week. These are the winners from Nadowli RC Primary A School in their new kit with their coach, Denis. This is another very serious business! Congratulations to them and good luck in the District Tournament. The ball, which doesn't feature here, was kindly donated by South Cave CE Primary School.  A trophy is on its way here too!

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