What are you thinking of when somebody says ‘Christmas’?

Christmas to me is first and foremost about food. I can easily do without presents. I’m not religious. And please leave me alone with cold and snow! But for some reason I always start feeling Christmassy when I spend hours preparing food. So what better way of commemorating the festive season than by talking for the next few days about food (and drink) in Africa? I’ll set the scene by telling you a bit about how I’ll spend Christmas this year and what I did  the year before.

Now I’m back in Germany I went to my favorite supermarket to get fancy ingredients for my Christmas week: organic chicken, salmon, champagne, chocolate tarte… I went to the chocolate manufacture around the corner and spent a small fortune. In a few minutes my sister will come by and we’ll chat and eat. On St. Stephens / Boxing Day we will visit our father, grandmother and their families for coffee and cake. Food, food, food and a little bit of family.

Totally different from but just the same like last year.

Last year I spent far away from home in the tropics, camping in Brenu Beach, a few miles from the Ghanaian town of Elmina. We were a group of seven or eight, traveling on a truck from Gibraltar to Cape Town. We left in the morning from Accra. We stopped in a busy market town along the road and formed teams of two. Every team got half an hour and a budget of about 5 USD. Luxury, considering that we usually had only 10 USD for breakfast and dinner for twelve people. After setting up my tent I went to the market in the nearby village and bought the only fruits available: two pineapples and a few oranges.

A few hours later we were devouring German potato salad, Tanzanian chapati, honey glazed carrots with ginger, green salad with an herb dressing, barbecued meats and pancakes for dessert. We had even managed to find ice to keep the Christmas punch cold.

Though we were a group of random individuals in a highly unusual situation in those moments we felt like family.

brenubeachghana2011

Tune in for more tomorrow: I’ve prepared some tips for all the carnivores among you. 

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