Last night a friend, who's staying in the guest house downstairs and eating his meals with us upstairs, made pineapple upside down cake for dessert as his contribution to dinner. He found a delicious recipe, but needed to make a few changes. For example, you cannot get hard-pack brown sugar here, so we used raw brown sugar instead; butter does not come in sticks- rather in large blocks- so measuring "1.5 sticks" was done largely by estimation; and our oven is so small that there's no way a cast-iron skillet was fitting inside (we don't have one either) so the prepared batter went into a 9X9 inch pan instead. The cake maybe didn't look as beautiful as the picture on epicurious.com, but it tasted fantastic.
Being adaptable is the way of life here- a necessity- not just an advantageous character trait. I have had to alter countless recipes to accommodate missing ingredients, our tiny oven, or inability to determine cooking temperature; [insert food here] might be available Tuesday but not Thursday (and then never seen again); the diapers that Eleanor has been wearing since we arrived in Tanzania have suddenly disappeared from every grocery store in Arusha so we now have to buy an entirely different (and more expensive) brand; electricity is fickle and unreliable and the generator is only turned on during certain hours of the day; stores close without warning, and reopen (or open for the first time) the same way.
In the past few days I have wondered if our return to reliable [insert anything here- internet, traffic patterns/road rules, food resources, hot water ....] will make us more or less frustrated when those things suddenly become unreliable. When I know that I can get quinoa anytime I want it, will I still be able to say "Well, I guess I'll have to use barley instead" when the bulk bins at Whole Foods and Weaver St. are empty or will I slip and let loose a few choice expletives? I hope it's the former, but only time will tell.
For now, I'm proving my adaptability by not eating oatmeal for breakfast and just enjoying the leftovers.