Cooking Challenges

Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Cooking most always poses some kind of challenge here in Madagascar!   Unfortunately, a lot of my time goes into cooking for our family.  I remember this from years past and it’s still true today.  There’s a variety of reasons why this is so… there are many ingredients and spices that simply can’t be found even in the “big stores” in the capital, when fruits and vegetables aren’t in season they’re not on the island, recipes are in grams rather than cups and temperatures on ovens are in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit.  Here’s an example of a recent cooking escapade.  I was going to make Honey Roasted Cashews as a snack for our language class.  Now I knew this was a recipe “that worked” in Madagascar because I found it on a blog that the missionary families here on the island have created.  The recipe goes a little something like this:


9 c. raw cashews

2.5-3 Tbl. honey

1.5-2 Tbl. maple syrup

1.5 Tbl. butter (or up to 25g)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Melt butter, mix all ingredients together, pour over cashews and stir to coat.  Bake for 6 minutes.  Stir again to re-coat then bake another 6-10 minutes or until golden.


Now this sounds like a very straight forward recipe…. or is it???  I sifted through the cashews to get out the “bad” ones and then gathered all my ingredients when I realized I didn’t have maple syrup.  BUT… I came prepared and brought maple syrup extract from the States so that I could make maple syrup, something I remember having to do in the past here.  So I pulled out my maple syrup recipe but when looking it over, I didn’t have all the ingredients.  So I consulted some cookbooks made for overseas living… but still didn’t have the ingredients.  No brown sugar (mental note to have Molasses brought from the States to make my own brown sugar) and no cornstarch.  So I substituted white sugar for the brown sugar and researched what to substitute for the cornstarch… Ok, flour… I had that.  So I proceeded and came up with some not-so-nice maple syrup but figured it would work well enough for these Honey Roasted Cashews.  I set the temperature on the oven… but first had to figure out the Celsius equivalent to 350 degrees Fahrenheit– I’m very thankful for the internet!  An hour later, we had these tasty snacks.




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