Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The importance of having Ernest

Like most people in Bujumbura, our house came with a cleaner. Ours is called Ernest and he’s been working here for 8+ years. The downside about inheriting someone who’s been around for ages is that they tend to be a teeny bit set in their ways of working and dear Ernest insists on kicking me out of the bedroom at 7.30am every morning in order to give the carpets a good shake. Or making fruit salad with a lot of papaya, and I don’t like papaya.

But Ernest is great. He’s certainly not very talkative and he’s always got a blood-shot eye that scares me a bit, but I’ve become rather fond of him since I’ve learnt that he can cook. His repertoire includes fish casserole, chicken curry, pizza, lasagna (see photo below) and probably more once I manage to extirpate the words out of him.

I’ve started to teach him a few recipes, like onion chutney, banana bread and chocolate brownies. Also the latest fashion in Buj is to send your help to someone’s house so they can learn from another cook, and I think I might just do that. So with a bit of luck, once I get a job there may be delicious vintage jams, freshly-made bread, samosas, chapattis and ragouts waiting for me in the evening…

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