Monday, July 22, 2013

Mpubfish & Plantains

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hahahaha I have been trying to find out how to correctly spell “Mpubfish” for days and I just found out now. Everyone here pronounces it like “Mpu-fish,” but now that I asked Killian how to spell it and he said, “Mpubfish,” I clearly see that they are trying to say “pub fish,” which is a common food in Britain and makes sense because I am living in one of the two regions of Cameroon that were colonized by Britain (while the other eight were colonized by France), but their pronunciation and preparation of “Mpubfish” is nothing like British “pub fish.”

Anyway, in return for my breakfast sandwiches, my friend Lucas showed me how to prepare Mpubfish, which he says is a traditional African meal. Mpubfish is the name of the powder-like spice that is used as the base of the meal’s sauce, and therefore is also the name of the meal as a whole. It’s really simple and cheap. You mix the Mpubfish spice with water, ground nut oil, Maggi (another African spice), and salt, and bring it to a boil on the stove. Next, you add a fish, which has been cleaned and sliced in half, but is still is “whole” in the sense that the bones are still inside, and let it cook for a few minutes. Lastly, once the sauce is prepared, you pour it on top of something else—anything from plantains, rice, or noodles—and eat. I ate with plantains.

But yea, about the fish, they eat the WHOLE thing—bones, eyes, tail, and all. Obviously, it’s easy to remove the few big bones, including the “spine,” from the fish, but there are tons of other little bones inside the fish that are not so easy to pick out. At first, I couldn’t get over this. When someone would prepare me fish, I would spend more time removing all the bones from my mouth than I would actually chewing the meat, but after a while, you just kind of get used to crunching away until the small bones have been chewed enough to swallow. A man in Barombi, the small village just outside of Kumba, told me that the bones are a good source of protein. “They make you to feel full,” he said.

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