How Much Food Should A 11 Week Old Baby Eat African Delight

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African Delight

I spent a semester in college in Africa. Flying into Nairobi, Kenya, and looking for common ground between myself and the rest of the unknown world, I was soon greeted by a crew of 11 “majungos” (Swahili for “white man”) to travel into the African bush. I could not have predicted the intense and exhilarating adventures we endured.

We were chased by a herd of elephants. This is the kind of thing you hear in the movies. In fact, we spent the first week bushwhacking through the bamboo forest. (FYI: It’s hard to predict what’s ahead when we go through the bamboo) Suddenly we heard “Coooowee!” of an accompanying Maasai warrior, and a clearing opened as the bamboo leaned against him to make way for the Majungos at the front of the line.

“Drop your suitcase and run like crazy.” I had no idea, but I felt in my heart that this was not a false alarm. So I followed the order and wasn’t quite sure where I would end up. I was so happy to have the 85 pound pack off my back, I felt lighter on my toes than I expected and could really run. And we ran until we came to the clearing and could see and hear the elephants in the distance rearing up. Fortunately for us, they were left with the choice of climbing a hill or having to forge bamboo, and they got terribly confused. Elephants are basically big babies, I learned that day. They can hear and follow, but they can’t really see. Imagine someone who has a gift for music, he may not care so much about being able to see the performance, but listening is what guides him. Same with the elephant, they can hear with their big droopy ears, but they sure aren’t too worried about where they step.

I went windsurfing off the coast of Kenya. It sounds like a luxury experience, but for a month we lived in a “dhao”, a centuries-old sailboat carved out of a mangrove. We slept on tables, caught any whitefish we could find and paired it with ungawi “African cake”, which was a very basic white grain, simmered and flavored with African tabasco sauce. Hmm yum Eating with your hands on the ship was mandatory, as was following the orders of the pirates (or Muslim sailors). As well as taking chances and jumping ship sometimes. We had windsurfing gear on the boat, and I loved trying it out. On one particular afternoon, I had the opportunity to sail far out into the African sea, and the deep red sunset drew me in until I heard a distant cry. I looked away from the horizon and towards one of the sailors, who I will refer to as Bob. His name was Bob, but he didn’t speak enough English to say his own name, so he was left with one word: “Spaghetti.”

I heard Bob shout in his own language. I fell and suddenly found myself in the deep dark African ocean, carrying massive waves. He was on his own surfboard, and I assumed maybe he wanted him back on the boat. He was alone on the high seas, and all he could do to get back to the boat was to ride the waves on his surfboard. This encouraged me to become proficient in windsurfing, where otherwise I was a little unbalanced and a little uncoordinated. When I returned that evening, I felt free. I feel like I just broke the law, and no one had to know about it, but I knew I had been where I would never go again, and maybe where no one close to me had ever been. When I returned to the boat, I discovered that I had crossed the border into Kenya and was in Ethiopia. No wonder that evening seemed so magical.

Ethiopian red lentils

2 T ghee* (or olive oil)

1/2 cup red onion, diced small

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T of fresh ginger, chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 cup red lentils, soaked for an hour

3 cups butternut squash, diced

3 cups of water

Melt the ghee in a large pan.

Saute the red onion in the ghee for about a minute, then add the garlic and ginger. Don’t let them turn brown, but let them soften a bit.

Add the turmeric and stir.

Then add the red lentils, stir and pour in water.

When the water comes to a boil, add the pumpkin.

Let’s cook the lentils and pumpkin for about 30-40 minutes, and then season with salt.

*Ghee is a clarified butter common in Ethiopian (and Indian) cooking. It is sold in most supermarkets and definitely in organic food stores.

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