Isombe of Rwanda

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Salt. It’s something Americans are so accustomed to. A meal tastes incomplete without it. At restaurants, people dash a little more on their plates for good measure. However, this recipe did not ask for salt, not even a “salt and pepper to taste” at the end of the recipe. It uses peanut butter to add the saltiness your mouth so desperately craves.

I was curious about Rwanda’s usage of salt. I found an article online from a Rwandan newspaper, The New Times, warning parents about the negative effects of too much salt. It was posted in only 2014. Then another article, same warnings, was just posted in May 2016. The problems that come from excessive salt in our diets seems like basic knowledge to us; doctors in America have been telling people to decrease their sodium intake for decades. This seems to be a new problem for the people of Rwanda.

This dish was eye opening. Not the most delicious, exotic, or memorable, but the most thought provoking thus far. It made me question and think about our cuisine, and ultimately, our culture of excess.

Ingredient List

  • Cassava leaves
  • Green onions
  • Eggplants
  • Spinach
  • Green peppers
  • Palm oil
  • Peanut butter

Quick Quotes

S: “Fittingly bland and plain. Door left open for alternative spice options.”

T: “I really needed extra spice and flavor.”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Rwanda is Kigali
  • The official languages are Kinyarwanda, English, and French
  • It is nicknamed the “Land of a Thousand Hills” due to its mountainous landscape
  • It is home to the Volcanoes National Park, (there are 5 volcanoes within the park)
  • Another interesting piece of food culture in Rwanda is their relationship to coffee. Though a massive producer of coffee, the people of Rwanda still do not drink it. Why? Check out this NPR article.
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