My favorite fruit has to be strawberries – an unfortunate favorite to have in sub-Saharan Africa because they’re not exactly abundant in these parts. Considering that I hail from Central Florida, not far from Plant City, home of an annual Strawberry Festival, the relative absence of strawberries is something of which I am keenly aware.
Apparently some farmers in these parts were also aware, because strawberries are now grown here on the Plataeu, where the weather is more moderate than in other parts of Nigeria. I’m not sure how long they’ve been grown here – far longer than we’ve been here, of course – only that they can’t possibly be native to the area.
But they sure are good.
And in season. Like now.
Actually, I think we’re coming up on the end of the season, but no matter…. We have enjoyed our run with them so far. Did I mention absolute favorite fruit?
Initially I wouldn’t buy them because I thought they were too expensive – I think it works out to about $3 a pound (with the price increase of fuel factored in (though the other day this guy really wanted to sell me some, and I really didn’t want to buy them, so he really kept trying to sell them… until the price was so low that I couldn’t resist. Oh, how did he know my weaknesses: A good sale and strawberries!?) (I know – I’m so cheap. But it sounds like a lot more when it’s priced in naira. I mean, NINE HUNDRED naira?! Chris pointed out the irony that I will sometimes pay $1 for one candy bar here when I’m reluctant to pay $3 for something far healthier and that will even last longer. Because I can tear me up some chocolate.)
Often one of the farmers who grows the berries will come to our door selling them, or send someone in her stead (I know – HER. Did you totally assume a guy? Why is that?? I totally thought she was the wife of the farmer, but no, there she was, telling me about farming the berries…. How presumptuous am I?! Shame on me.)…. If we were in the States and a Girl Scout came to the door, I’d probably buy her overpriced box of cookies and not think twice about it (Okay, not true. My cheapness does not discriminate. But I would hand over my money while I told the poor seven year old who just wanted to earn a cheap toy from China for selling the most cookies that in MY day, the cookies were HALF that price and there were TWICE as many in the box. AND we had to walk uphill both ways to sell them, thank you very much.)…. So why is it that when it comes to healthier foods, foods grown locally by a farmer who is trying to support her family, I am reluctant to pay that? Why does it feel so extravagant to buy one of my favorite fruits – and even FOODS – because I can get other fruits and vegetables for far cheaper?
…So, largely due to Chris’s encouragement, I am starting to change my philosophy on some on this and am realizing it’s okay to treat myself to little luxuries like this. We don’t eat tons of meat, we can get other fruits and vegetables for fairly cheaply and so…. we have enjoyed the occasional strawberry, a sweet, sweet (literally) taste of home.
But… all that to say that the other day Chris had a stroke of brilliance. We had some leftover banana bread, and he made a breakfast strawberry shortcake by topping the banana bread with strawberries. My husband’s a genius, isn’t he? Surpassed only by my thought to top it with homemade yogurt, of course (Were I more brilliant, I would’ve added vanilla to it. Mmmm.) ;). I know it sounds incredibly simple, but it was so good and such a yummy treat.
So not exactly Nigerian food, but a definite treat in Nigeria. Or anywhere else, I’m convinced. You should totally try it.
And share your banana bread recipe. I still haven’t found the perfect one yet. Have you? Seriously, share it. Here. Like now. (I prefer it not to be loaded with lots of fat and oils, but how else does one get the moistness that should define banana bread? Sigh. Such a question of scruples.)