The life of a missionary doesn’t just circle around our ministries, in the field, or taking part in God’s work to deliver justice in our mission sites. Being a missionary also means taking care of ourselves and discovering what other gifts with which God has blessed us. We are not just called to be in the field or church – sometimes, we are also called to be in the kitchen. Yes, a missionary in the kitchen.
As missionaries, especially missionaries in the GMF program, being away from our home context can also mean being away from our comfort foods. That favourite soup that your mom cooks for you, that pie your aunt bakes, or even just the ice cream or snack that you buy on the street one block from your house, they will all be missed. There will be no one to cook our meal for us, like it used to back home. Being assigned to a different country, especially another continent, even if you know how to cook, you won’t find familiar ingredients you used back home. You’re privileged if you’re assigned to a community where you have housemates who can cook or where the community eats together. If you are in a different mission site, though, you’ll be living in a flat all by yourself. Eating out can be an option, but it’ll be expensive and it won’t suit the principle of simple living. Eating out could also result in feelings of oppression in your community, especially if it is something not everyone can afford. In these times, you’ll find yourself in the kitchen, trying to survive and satisfy your hunger and cravings.
Hence, I created these simple tips for your meal planning when you find yourself to be a Missionary in the Kitchen:
- Nutrition and balanced diet should be your priority. Remember your Go, Grow, and Glow foods back from primary or elementary health class. They all make sense!
- Time and practicality is the key. Plan for meals that can be prepared as quickly as possible, yet can last a while.
- Believe in yourself! Okay, this may be your first time living on your own or cooking for yourself but you can do it! I’m sure once in a while, you’ve seen how your mom or your dad prepares your food. Plus, you can download recipes and just follow the instructions.
- Be brave and don’t forget to experiment. Be resourceful! If you can’t find the exact ingredients, find an alternative one, even a cheaper replacement, or just do without some of it.
- Plan for leftovers (if you have a fridge). It’s hard to cook a meal with a portion of single servings so prepare meals you can still eat the next day.
- Recycle leftovers. You can mix and match leftovers with other leftovers and you’ll be surprised what you can create. Like that spicy chicken you had for dinner and that plain pasta you had this morning, they can make a good lunch.
- Stay safe! When you think the food is no longer good for consumption, don’t eat it. Don’t risk having an upset stomach or even food poisoning just because you don’t want to throw away food/leftovers. This is why you need to carefully plan your meal and need to keep them in clean storage.
- Lastly, of course, bless and share your blessings. Invite friends once in a while to join you for a meal and bless it with a prayer.
To start off your mission in the kitchen, here are some of the recipe’s I’ve created/experimented in my first month of service here in Zambia, as well as other contributions from my fellow GMFs across the globe.
“Ginger Fried Chicken with Buttered Veggies”
By: Adrian Mendoza
1. Marinate your chicken with ginger cuts, pepper, salt, soy-sauce, and some herbs overnight
2. Fry your chicken and set it aside to stir the oil
3. Sautè onions in small amount of oil and add a bit of butter and salt until mid-brown
4. Add carrots, potato and beans (these are all I have on my stock but you can add more veggies) and add more butter
5. Sautè for 3 mins and half teaspoon of sugar. Cover your pan and turn off the heat.
6. Plate your chicken and side with veggies to serve
* When you sautè your veggies, just add little amount of salt and nothing else. Since your chicken is already marinated with strong flavors, you’ll need your veggies natural taste and a bit of sweetness from butter and sugar to compliment it.
** Only half cook your veggies (especially since you’ll store the rest of the servings for the next days and you’ll re-heat them)
*** Marinate as much chicken as you can, as it also helps preserve them and you can just easily fry, or grill them
“Orange Buttered Tilapia”
By: Adrian Mendoza
1. Cut thawed tilapia fillets into bite size and put them in a bowl
2. Sprinkle with pepper, salt, oregano and garlic powder
3. Put butter and orange slices on top
4. Heat in the microwave for 4 minutes
*you could also add some ready-made mixed veggies for added health and color
“PATATES DOUCES A LA SAUCE TOMATE”
By: Dan M. CHAMS
– Ingredients & amounts:
5 sweet potatoes,
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
½ small spoon of salt
You start first by peeling potatoes, after that you wash them and cut them into small pieces, then put them at a dry place (e.g. on a plate)
Secondly, cut tomatoes and onions into small pieces, put the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan, and add tomatoes and onions then put the pan on fire 7 to 10 minutes (mix them while getting cooked – making a tomatoes’ sauce and you can add other spices that you have)
Finally, put potatoes into the pan, where there is your tomatoes sauce, add 3 glasses of water and salt then mix them and wait let them boil for 20 to 25 minutes.
1 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C almond milk
2 Tbsp melted vegan butter
3 Tbsp maple syrup
vegan chocolate chips
boca chick’n patties
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl, mix together the almond milk, butter, and maple syrup. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until combined.
Divide the batter amongst 12 muffins tins and add in whatever mix-ins you’d like. Bake for 12-14 minutes and enjoy!
You can use real milk and butter for this recipe as well!
Council of Churches in Zambia
GMF International, Class of 2016-2018