Cooking in Agon

You may all remember how much I liked to cook… Well, Jeff has me teaching cooking classes to the woman artisans in Agon, a village near Houegbo. We’ve had two classes so far… both on cake. At the first class, we made pineapple upside cake since many people her grow pineapples. One of the challenges has been trying to figure out how these woman can measure ingredients at home. I brought measuring cups and spoons with me to Benin and you can buy them in Cotonou, but they are much too expensive for these woman to purchase. So I have had to translate our 1 cup, ½ cups, etc into standards that they have. I am using recycled tomato paste cans and Nescafé cans. The medium sized tin can is the same as 1 cup, so it is working well. We use a spoon for teaspoon. The other challenge is some of the ingredients. They can get white flour in the market, but chemical leaveners such as baking powder and baking soda are hard to find. Although yeast is readily available at the Houegbo market.
It took so long to bake our cake in the dutch oven we set up over a charcoal fire… everyone was getting so impatient. When we took the cake out we tried to flip it too soon and it stuck! I was a little embarrassed, but the ladies were nice and told me it was good. they liked how sweet the pineapples got.
At the second class, I decided to make cornbread, because corn flour is more readily available. they make their staple meal pate from corn flour. Well cornbread isn’t sweet as cake, so they didn’t like it as much. This time we got our fire going really well and the bread baked quickly, but it also burned on the edges. They were charred black. Luckily, I had made one in advance that was better, although they still devoured the burnt loaf, one man claimed to like the burned part. Sadly, we seemed to also have burned a hole through the bottom of my giant aluminum pot. I’m not quite sure how, but maybe someone can tell me?
For the next class, they want to learn to make appetizers. I am not sure exactly what kind of appetizers to make and they didn’t get specific. Maybe some deviled eggs or little toasts with spreads. let me know if you have any ideas!!! oh, and eat well!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Cooking in Agon

  1. Hi Mrs. Guevin!!!!!!!
    I loved reading about the blog that you just posted! It’s very nice of you to start a cooking class! Is it fun? You wanted to know if we had any ideas of what you should make for appetizers? Well, maybe you should make little sandwhiches, or something! And, I promise that I will eat well!!!!!! (make sure you do too)! See ya’ soon!!!!!!!!

    Love,
    Eliza

  2. Jenn

    Yummy…during lunch, we often mention how much we miss your delicious desserts!!

  3. Shelly

    We are gonna have to get you some cast iron to cook on woman!

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