Friday, October 12, 2012

Breakfast Time

Orange juice

5 medium oranges

Find a child (preferably in one of the later grades of primary school, and probably a boy) who seems to understand a decent amount of French. Tell him you’d like to get some oranges. If he seems indifferent, offer to pay for them, a bit less than the current market price [datum: preseason oranges are four/1000 GNF, so offer to pay 1000 GNF for six]. Follow the child as he leads you into the heart of the village, into his brother’s/aunt’s/father’s parcel. Ask if there are any oranges that are not “not ripe” (or ripe, if you know the word for that), and point to the tree. Point to a different tree when the child tells you that that one there is a grapefruit tree. Point to a third tree when he tells you that that second one is a lime tree, aren’t those too small for oranges? Watch fearfully and with slight awe as the child hoists himself into the crown of the tree, and then begins a quick but graceful ascent. Take a few steps back and observe the branches of the tree, speckled with yellowing orbs. Ask the child about that one there, that nice orange one. Is that one good? Get that one. No it’s not. It’s not? Nope. Don’t believe him and jump up and pick (with startling ease) another equally-blushing -but-lower-hanging fruit. Touch it barely so as to not crush it as you let it drop to the ground where it splats, transforming a rotting sphere into a rotting circle. Look back skywards and orangewards and make eye contact with the boy. Spread your hands like a baseball glove or one of those women’s hairclips and catch the green thing he drops at you. Examine the fruit, baseball sized, dimpled, and mostly green with the slightest hints of yellow, a John Deere orange. Catch four more similar oranges as they are lobbed down. Miss one, and jump back to protect your exposed toes as its precious insides spurt out through a new seam in the side. Tell the child that’s enough, knowing that he will pick at least one more. Keep watching as he downclimbs, but stay ready to move a little bit as bits of small branches tumble down. Consider also the possibility of breaking his theoretical fall, and how bruised you would get, and how bruised he would get, hitting branches and then you on the way down. Try to act unsurprised and unimpressed as he moves towards the extreme of the lowest branch, which was seven and a half feet above the ground but now with his weight on it is a comfortable five and three-quarters. Give him a moment to go back to the trunk and put his left sandal on his right foot and the right on the left. Pick three large spindly biting ants off the back of his shirt that he missed while doing a general removal seconds earlier. Attempt to carry the oranges (joke that they should be called greens) in your hands, struggle, move to pick them up again after they tumble down, and finally accept the child’s offer to carry them for you. Help him load them into a lumbar pouch he creates by tying the unbuttoned shirttails of his school uniform, and then follow as he leads you on a meandering path back to the village center and your house. Place a basket or plastic bowl on the ground outside and have the child deposit his cargo into it. Go inside and bring back out a cup of water and a dirty banknote, give both to the child. Take the cup back when it’s empty. Bring the oranges inside and cut them in half along their equators. If you possess a juicer, use it to juice the oranges, but scoop the pulp but not the seeds back into the cup. If you don’t have a juicer, squeeze each hemisphere, one hand inside the other, over a large, preferably wide, cup. Use a sharp knife to cut the pulpy fringes off of each piece of fruit before throwing the rind out the window or off the front porch. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Drink and enjoy.


4 parts flour, sifted
2 parts corn flour (coarser is fine)
1 part powdered milk
¼ part baking powder
¼ part salt

Mix dry ingredients together, smashing lumps with a fork. Slowly add water while stirring the batter until barely heaping. Pour an aliquot into a hot, well-oiled pan, frying on both sides. Eat savory with cheese and veggies, or sweet with peanut butter and honey.

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