In Jeneba’s Shoes

MOMS’ partner, Circle of Health International, has an intriguing challenge for you:  Try a little piece of Jeneba’s life - eat as she does for three days or donate $60 to help feed Jeneba and her neighbors.  

Here is a link to COHI’s challenge:

  • 9 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 4 spicy peppers (your choice)
  • 1 pound of chicken
  • 1 pineapple (whole)
  • Jar of peanut butter, unsweetened
  • 1 container chicken stock (for peanut stew)
  • Staples:  Salt, pepper, ground red pepper, onions, garlic, vegetable oil, pepper sauce

This is your menu:  

  • Lunch: 2 cups of rice with 1/2 cup sauteed spinach with spicy pepper, 4 oz. of chicken
  • Snack: 1/4 of a pineapple
  • Dinner: 1 cup of rice with 1/2 cup of peanut butter stew

Please note that Jeneba’s diet has little variety.  She may eat potato leaves or other greens rather than spinach.  Village women seldom get breakfast.  Some women grow plantains or bananas and enjoy them in season.  If her husband is a good hunter, he might share small game with Jeneba, her co-wives, and their daughters.  

The following recipes are adapted for American kitchens.  Jeneba cooks over a small wood fire in a pot or skillet.  Jeneba has access to few herbs, no dairy, few eggs, but many hot peppers!

Rice with sautéed spinach and chicken.

Follow the cooking instructions on the package of rice.  Season the rice simply - salt, pepper.  

Rub the chicken with salt, black pepper, and ground red pepper.  Let it sit for a while.  Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan.  Fry the chicken in the hot oil, turning till it is done.  (Note, if you were Jeneba, you would eat the wings, heart, and gizzard.  Her husband, sons, and father-in-law would eat the breasts and thighs.)

Rinse the spinach under running water; shake off the water. Chop a slice or two of onion.  Mash a clove of garlic.  In a small frypan, heat about two tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium-high fire.  Sauté the onion and garlic.  Add the spinach and a cup of water, then turn down the flame and cook till heated through.  (Jeneba would cook the spinach for 15-20 minutes.)   Add salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste.  

Put the cooked rice in a bowl then cover with the spinach and chicken.  Adjust seasoning, and add red peppers if desired.  

Peanut butter stew over rice

Cook the rice, seasoned with salt and pepper, according to the package directions.   

Chop a few slices of onion and a couple cloves of garlic.  Heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable oils in a saucepan.  Sauté the onion and garlic over medium-high heat.  Add 1/3 cup of peanut butter, a spoonful at a time, stirring well to combine with the onions and garlic.  Add a cup of water (more authentic) or chicken broth and stir well.  Simmer till flavors meld.  Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste. 

Put the cooked rice into a bowl, and pour the stew over.  Adjust season, and add red pepper sauce to taste.  

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