Baking Day

16 Sep

There were not a lot of options where grocery stores were concerned.  I remember two types of cereal on the grocery store shelves in Nairobi; Corn Flakes and WheetaBix.  It got better as the years went by, but at first that was it.  And absolutely zero boxes of cereal in the nearest town of Narok.  We could buy staples in Narok; like limited produce, eggs, flour, sugar, and tea.  This meant that my mom spent time in the kitchen.  Not just a little time.  She had to make nearly everything we ate, so it stands to reason that she spent A LOT of time in the kitchen.

Baking day was quite an event.  There would be a humongous batch of dough that would be made into bread, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and rolls.  I remember her baking English muffins, bagels, banana bread, granola, cinnamon rolls, pita bread, cakes and cakes and cakes, cookies, pies, and lots of other delicious goodies.  She always had something good to pull out when people stopped in.

This could be a Tupperware ad for the late 70s. Tupperware bowl, pitcher, spice containers, and measuring cups

As you can see from this picture, she got pretty innovative and used what was available to her.  There are three tins over there to the right.  That is called Blue Band.  It is labeled as margarine, but it is unlike any margarine I’ve seen or tasted here in the U.S.  I’m pretty sure it’s just shortening (called Kimbo in Kenya) with salt and yellow food coloring.  Highly nutritious (pffff).  Call me crazy, but I really did like it.  I am sure it had something to do with coming to enjoy the things with which you’re familiar.  So there is my confession for the day. I liked Blue Band.  So, moving on.

Those Blue Band tins are empty.  That is because my mom used them as baking pans.  Anytime she made banana bread or pumpkin bread, she baked it in empty Blue Band cans.  To this very day, I feel a little wasteful when I throw tins and things away.  We even washed out our re-sealable bags (kindly brought by people visiting from America) and dried them on wooden spoons in the dish drainer.

Baking Day was my favorite.  I would sit on the counter and “help” with all the measuring and dumping.  I got to stir and pour and poke.  I got to lick the beaters and taste the first loaf of bread fresh and hot from the oven.  I had my own little miniature bread pans into which I smashed my very own lump of dough and I’m pretty sure it tasted better than anything in the world.

As you can see from the expression on my face, Baking Day is serious business.


Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


11 responses to “Baking Day

  1. Ms Green Jean's Things

    September 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Crazy enough, I still wash and reuse all of my plastic bags! Made fabric bags to take to the grocery store for produce too. I was using reusable grocery bags before it was “in.” Still using my Kenya kikapus, or is it vikaup?? I’ve got bags that are older than most of the baggers and cashiers. (We’re talking 25 year old baskets still being used weekly!) When you get used to somethings they stick.

    • carrielassiter

      September 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      I still use my kikapu too. It’s too small to use it for groceries, but it makes a great bottomless purse. What did you use to make the produce bags?

  2. Jen T.

    September 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I keep postponing coming over to the blog, b/c I knew I wanted to give it my full attention. Just read everything you have so far and I LOVE It! What a special gift to yourself, your parents and your boys. Yours is indeed a unique childhood, and the magic is in the details, which you are so lovingly recalling. Thanks for sharing, Carrie!

    • carrielassiter

      September 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Jen, I am so glad you stopped by. I am excited to have it all down in words and not just memories the family talks about when we’re together. Thanks for all your kind words! I appreciate them.

  3. Didi

    September 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Goodness! I have not seen a blue band tin in forever. I have the same confession- I also was a BB lover and was so used to the taste that when we went on furlough I didn’t like the margarine or butter. Must have been the high salt content!

    • carrielassiter

      September 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      There certainly was something about that salty goodness all melted on top of some super crunchy Kenyan toast.

  4. Rochelle Ball

    September 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I loved Blue Band too! I liked it best on sandwiches with Gouda cheese. Yum!

  5. Alissa

    September 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Madagascar has definitely moved forward from Kenya in the 70’s but…. we’re STILL washing out and hanging dry our ziplock bags from the States…. over and over and over again! 🙂

    • carrielassiter

      September 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Ziplock bags are a hot comodity among African missionaries. Hope you’re all doing well over there in Madagascar!

  6. The Mckinnon Crew

    September 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I had Blue Band while staying with Bob & Michelle Pederson in Uganda! I didn’t think it was too bad…even “real” margarine is pretty bad! Love your stories….thanks for sharing them…

  7. Sue

    September 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I think we had blue band while I was growing up in Britain. It certainly sound familiar.


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