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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

My Samoa-fied Recipes

SAMOA | Tuesday, 25 October 2016 | Views [287]

Tausala and her family have treated me extremely well, not even allowing me to help with cooking or wash dishes. After staying with them there’s no saying that Samoans aren’t hospitable because I’m a “gift of God” to them, and in Savai’i I’ve received two other offers to stay in Samoan homes. As a way of showing my appreciation, I love cooking but I've had to improvise here in Samoa. In Australia, New Zealand, and even on Norfolk Island it’s rather simple to make my signature dishes: vegetable tomato soup, zucchini bread, and pizza margherita. On Norfolk I have to call around a bit and ask where I can find zucchini or fresh basil and on Lord Howe I can bring it from the mainland but in Samoa, finding many things can be difficult. Real vanilla extract (not the fake stuff) is about as common as a snow blizzard here. Finding pizza bases is absolutely hopeless and mozzerella cheese is only marginally easier. Yesterday I went to Salelologa in search of carrots and spring onions to no avail and I couldn’t even find stuff to make some vegetable stock. Fortunately I brought some of that from New Zealand. Today I opted to go to Salelologa again and search around for carrots. A Savai’ian named Tito would pick me up. He’s a forestry worker and recently returned from Tokelau, saying his permit was approved the next day! Today is exactly two weeks since I’ve applied and I still have heard nothing. Stopping at a few stores along the way proved fruitless (or “vegetable-less” in a way). At the supermarket there were no carrots, spring onions, zucchinis, or green beans, so I thought if I’m going to make my specialties I’ll have to get creative with a Samoa-fied version. Instead of carrots and spring onions I’ll use two brown onions and I’ll experiment with coconut instead of zucchini to make my bread. With some celery and a can of tomatoes I thought I’d try to hitchhike around the island back to Sale’aula with a stop at the Alofa’aga Blowholes. There are only 11 geocaches in all of Samoa, with three of them being Earthcaches on Savai’i. The blowholes are one of them. It was hard for me to enjoy the blowholes because this older bloke kept pestering me for money after throwing coconuts into the blowholes.

In the kitchen I worked my magic with what I had. The soup turned out absolutely beautiful, and Tausala and family loved it. When I substituted coconut for zucchini I used a bit too much coconut, forgetting it's drier than zucchini. In these situations is where my little cooking skills come in handy; if something is too thick just add a dab of water and test it out. Being in Samoa has helped me expand my culinary repertoire by making new things as well. Banana cake is one thing I never made before coming to Savai'i.

Over the course of my visit I made coconut bread, vegetable tomoto soup, and carrot cake. It was always really popular! Tausala later told me that for birthdays she'd always pick up a box of cake mix or buy a cake at the shop but now she's going to use my recipes! It later turned out she baked a carrot cake for Fa'amanu's birthday. Finding ingredients is a bit more difficult in Samoa than elsewhere but I can still show my appreciation by cooking my masterpieces, albeit with a Samoan twist.

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