21 Sept 2008 Rice Jolloff for 200+ people

The Kampusi’s had a wedding in the family and Madam prepared rice jolloff for the meal after the Thanksgiving service at the church today. The process started on Friday night. Madam had a caterer helping her. They went to the mill at the school to grind tomatoes. They must have had at least half a bushell.Then they brought them to a boil so they would keep over night. The pot they had them in was about 1 ½ feet in diameter and 1 ½ feet deep. Cooking: Most Ghanaians cook outside. It is a practice I plan to emulate when I have my house. I have probably said before how much cooler it is to cook outside. To cook the food for today Perpetua used very large pots. She placed them on three large rocks so she would have room for the pieces of wood under the pots. When I wrote about the students cooking I think I mentioned that they used branches and did not cut them up. The same with the cooking this weekend. Perpetua and the caterer put some coals under the pots then lay the ends of long branches on the coal. Madua fanned the coals like crazy and the branches caught fire. Someone fanned off and on during the cooking process to keep the fire going. In the cold part of the US people who chop their own firewood say that it warms you twice once in the chopping and then again in the stove. I think the Ghanaians feel the same way and say NO THANK you to the first warming! Saturday after the wedding they started cooking the meat. They were cooking “the cow” or beef.The Ghanaians waste very little of the animal so there were parts of the cow in there that I was not familiar with. The meat was cooked in a pot about 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep. When the meat was first starting to cook the caterer used her hands to stir the mean. When it was getting hot then she used a large wooden laddle to stir the meat and when she stirred Madua and Madam Perpetua held the pot in place. When I came by they were unwarpping shrimp and beef maggie (boullion) cubes then crushing them into ground ginger and garlic. I helped. Perpetua said that they had put in about 40 cubes. When the meat was browned the caterer added the ginger and garlic mixture to the meat. She also added salt and BLACK PEPPER! (I can get black pepper in the next town.) They sat back down and the caterer dumped some white rice, a tomato sauce and one piece of chicken into abowl. Perpetua said “Vicky come ya da ya da” at first I thought she had watched Sienfeld but then she saw my confusion and said “ya da ya da is eat”. I washed my hands and joined the common bowl. It was good. The tomato sauce had pieces of carrots, onion, cabbage in it. It was mildly spicey. I remembered to always eat with my right hand. I watched the others for the correct things to do. They pretty much didn’t lick their fingers when the put the food in their mouths and everyone stayed in one part of the bowl. When Dizzy tried to eat from my part her mom reprimanded her. After we ate we just hung out waiting for the meat to cook. I went inside and to bed long before they did. Today, Sunday, I lazed around in the morning listening to BBC radio and I missed the cooking of the rice. They pretty much cooked the rice then added the ground tomatoes to it. The tomatoes had some spices making the rice taste pretty much like Spanish rice. When I finally came out at the late hour of 8:00 am they were cutting cabbage, onions, carrots and green peppers. This was then cooked in a large sauce pan about 4 feet in diameter and 6 -8 inches deep. No handle. It looked like an upside down dome. The vegetables were cooked in red palm nut oil with peppe added. They also added black pepper, white pepper, and some other type of chicken boullion. The veggies were cooked just until they began to get tender. They were put in tub and macaroni was added to them. I never saw the macaroni cooking but it had a light coating of red palm nut oil and it was spicy. While Perpetua and the caterer were cooking Madua and the other help were wrapping plastic spoons in paper napkins. Everything was ready. Three tubs were brought into the shade, the meat, the rice and the vegetables. At this point Madam gave Dizzy and I a bowl of rice, with veggies and some meat. We ate and watched the rest of them pack the rice jolloff into rectangular styrofoam take out boxes. There was plenty rice, as the Ghanaians say, a laddle full of vegetables on top of the rice and one piece of meat in each container. Then the spoon and napkin were attached to the container with an elastic. The last time I counted there were over 210 containers. Rice Jolloff is a Ghanaian fast food. It’s actually not fast to make but the rice, vegetables and meat are kept hot in sparate pots in the food stall and you can get it quickly. When you order you say I want two thousand rice or 4 thousand rice and what kind of protein, chicken, goat, egg, sometimes bushmeat and how many pieces. You don’t get to order how much vegetables. Now that I know how to make it I will be making it for myself with plenty veggies!

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