When I came home from Africa, I said that I was never going to go back to the way I was. I was going to dance like no one was watching, sing like no one could hear, love like I had never been hurt, work like I didn’t need the money, and cook all the kinds of foods they eat in Africa – whole grains, fresh produce and very little Americanized salty, high fat and low nutrient foods. I found the Malawi people were so joyous and loving even in the midst of horrible suffering from AIDS and famine. I learned from my Malawi friends, who had suffered so much, to love and live and be in Christ more fully, a little bit more living in the joy of the presence of God.
I taught AIDS Prevention, Health Awareness, and Nutrition Essentials to women in a rural village in Malawi. There were no amenities like running water, electricity or anything like that, but the village was filled with love. After my teaching, the women asked me what I do in the US. I told them I had a TV cooking show. They wanted me to cook for them, so we agreed that they would teach me to cook their foods the first day and I would cook the second day. They made me some wonderful local food and then told me they wanted me to make a cake for them. That was a tall order: There was no white flour, butter, sugar or vanilla in the village. I traveled a few hours by van to the nearest town with a little market to buy these things. I used pineapples grown in the village and eggs laid by the scrawny chickens that scratched for food. The only cooking method in the village was a wood fire in an open pit in the center of the village. I asked the native women to build a fire for me that was the same temperature as how they cooked their corn flour flatbreads the day before. There were only a couple of cooking pots in the village so they ran to bring one to me. I put a little butter and brown sugar in the bottom of the pan and let the heat from the fire melt the butter. I cut up a pineapple and placed slices in the butter mixture and topped it all with a batter. I did not have any recipes with me or any internet access so I just had to dream up a recipe. Once it was all in the pan, we put a lid on the pan and the ladies place a few hot coals on the lid so it would bake like a dutch oven. The pineapple pannekuchen turned out amazing. We all ate with our fingers right out of the pan. It was slightly sweet and full of pineapple custard goodness. The picture above shows our cooking “show”. This is my favorite cooking class of all time.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt