I'm a rice and beans kind of girl. As a product of a childhood in Cameroon, I have ALWAYS loved rice and beans and so I was thrilled with lunch at my office when I started here (NOTE: Most Haitian places of business feed their employees!). But, I have to admit that I am getting tired of eating the same thing everyday.
Five days a week I eat some combination of the following: diri (rice), diri kole ak pwa (rice and beans), sos pwa (bean sauce), sos awonsol (an oily red sauce flavored with dried herring), legim (a mash of vegetables - usually mostly melaton - with hunks of meat that I have to pick out since as usual I try not to eat meat) and banan (boiled plantains). Once or twice a week (just to stir things up a bit?), we'll have fried fish, mayi moule (cornmeal) instead of rice, banan peze (fried plantain patties) or a watercress salad. When we have watercress, I'm in heaven!
I'm used to more variety in my diet. With the exception of eating leftovers, Ben and I cook something different every night of the week. And now that I eat rice for lunch at work everyday, we NEVER cook with it at home anymore. The more I think about this and compare Haitian and North American diets, though, the more I wonder if Ben and I were just lucky to grow up with moms that are conscious of what they feed their families. After all, poor diet quality and lack of dietary diversity in North America is causing a climbing obesity rate and lots of other health concerns. At least I know that my diri kole and my legim aren't replete with preservatives, transfats, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified vegetables and factory-farmed beef, right?
On the upside, fresh fruit juice is a major component of any Haitian meal and our cook at POHDH, Jaqueline, makes it without sugar for me. I love experiencing the changing fruit seasons in Haiti. The season for citrus (orange, ruby red grapefruit - which we got to pick from the tree in Desarmes - see photo, and chadek) is coming to an end and I look forward to seeing what fruits will appear next in the market and in my juice at lunchtime.