The Potato Salad Caper

Women in their bright fabrics with children tied to their backs dodged in and out of the traffic –  both human and vehicle – with fully loaded heads. Why use your hands and arms to carry stuff when you have a perfectly good head that can balance buckets with fish, bananas, glass cases with baked goods, clothes, etc.

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Well, when in Ghana…seriously, did you not read my post about being a klutz?! I will eventually give this a try, but not during work hours when I am chasing down my dream – a potato salad.

Tomorrow (August 21) is a Muslim holiday that celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and God’s intervention.  This got me thinking about the 4th of July. And yes I know, other than they are both in the summer months, they have absolutely NOTHING in common. Other than the requisite feast, of course.

Potato salad came to mind.  It’s easy, totally American, and holiday appropriate.

And I am in Ghana, at an outdoor market that sells everything from mangoes to salt to flip-flops to…you guessed it, potatoes.

My colleagues (2 Advans loan officers I was tagging along with to Nsuwam and its market) assured me they could find me potatoes – sure enough, a bag of 8 dirt encrusted slightely odd-shaped “yellow” potatoes cost me about $.75. I had mayo at home and an onion…what else could I possibly need? Ohhh – EGGS!

I hadn’t touched an egg since my traumatic experience two weeks ago.  It was time I stopped being chicken (  😜 ) and faced my fears.

After quizzing my colleagues about the likelihood of coming across another chick-in-the-egg, and (more) assurances that it NEVER happened to them, I bought 6 eggs for $.80.

Let me clear up the ingredients list issue right now.  No one sells celery, and I was so excited about potatoes I forgot about peppers, which they have plenty of here. I know, I know, I was already on shaky ground for good results.

Things back in my apartment were going fairly well.  Potatoes were cleaned, peeled, chopped and immersed in boiling water. A few minutes later, they were done, and I cooled them off the best I could – lots of running water, finally putting them in my fridge’s little box freezer compartment (no ice cube tray).

potatoes

On with the terrifying part – the eggs.

I spun each of them, promising myself if one spun oddly I would pitch it.  They all spun the same odd way, so I went ahead and boiled 4 of them.

Done!  But how to cool them off quickly so they didn’t overcook?  Easy! Put them in the freezer!

You remember what happens to Ralphie in A Christmas Story?  The tongue-on-the- flagpole thing?  Turns out eggs in a freezer compartment react the same way.  They were practically glued down.  I tried water to little effect.  I wound up wrenching them out of the freezer, leaving chunks of egg and shell behind.

Will frozen egg smell up the freezer/fridge? The water I used to try and unfreeze them created a nice layer of ice over the actual egg and shell.

Eager to move past the ridiculousness, I tasted the cooled down potatoes. Hmmm…not bad…but not what I expected from a slightly white/yellow potato.  Ummm…sweet???

Yup.  My good ol’ fashioned potato and egg salad sans anything green was now a sweet potato and egg salad.  I threw in some chili powder, onion, salt, pepper and mayonnaise with an air of desperation.

It’s almost 10pm, and I have decided to do the taste test tomorrow.  That way I can go to bed hopeful.

THE BIG DAY

Let’s not drag this out any longer…it’s edible!!  And not bad, in the grand scheme of things.  The chili powder is a definite plus.  Gumby oversaw my tasting, reminding me to be flexible – just because it isn’t a perfect reproduction of what I wanted doesn’t make it bad, just different.

potato salad-ta da

And as I sit at my table eating sweet potato and egg salad, listening to the sounds of Ghana around me, different seems to be pretty darn good.

Snippets

Every so often there is so much happening that I want to share little bits – snippets!

  • My chicken will be delivered on Wednesday
    • Seems that to get fresh chicken (dead and cleaned), you have to order it and get it delivered to your door
  • I wipe down my floors every morning. Then I close my windows. By evening when I get home there is a film of black dirt on everything. My feet are gross!
    • Took me almost two weeks to figure out to stop going barefoot and put on shoes – now it doesn’t bother me.
      • I do wipe down all surfaces again when I get back from work!
  • Ask an Uber driver about his car and he will say “It is a Pay to Buy”.  In other words, rent to own.  Can take more than 2 years to accomplish.  One go-getter said it took him only 10 months.
    • Made me wonder what else he was transporting!
  • I was happily making an omelet in my little kitchen (more later) when the last egg I cracked into the bowl dispelled a baby chick. I haven’t eaten an egg since.
    • It is even more traumatic than it sounds.
      • I threw out the 2 hardboiled eggs I had made the day before.
  • I had dinner in a DC-10 that was turned into a restaurant.  Pretty neat!

DC-10 restaurant

  • Best Friday morning text EVER? My landlord asked if I would be interested in having a trained therapeutic masseuse come to my apartment Sunday morning – 30 minutes for $9.00! OMG YES!!!
  • I hate ants. In Ghana, I am trying to be more compassionate. I figure they keep me honest.  Did I empty the trash at night? Did I wash the dishes and put them away? Did I wipe down the counters after a meal/snack/any activity food-related?
    • If any answer is “no”, the ants will let me know.
    • Then I kill them.
    • And I make sure there are all “yesses” to the above questions.
  • My little kitchen.

Little Kitchen

  • It’s generally just fine …but the height of the single burner is amusingly problematic.

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Thanks for reading – have a fun day!