Safi Sana Squash Banana

This year for Christmas, instead of buying myself something lavish, I decided to be very posh and take holiday with all the Euros and South Africans in Tanzania. It was amazing of course. Before I had left, I planned this really cool food-blog diary in my head. I figured I could take pictures of all my food and post tidbits while I was traveling and share with readers in semi-real time the joys of East African cooking. Of course that did not happen. If it wasn’t my terrible memory, it was my terrible camera that apparently takes the worst food pictures ever. Plus I sort of ate the same things over and over, not so exciting for frequent updating. So now, nearly a month later, I am finally ready to talk about  some Swahili food.

My first stop was actually not anywhere in Africa, it was Turkey, where I spent a lovely 24 hour layover touring the city by foot. I saw all the mosques, ate a fish sandwich off of a boat in the Golden Horn and visited the bazaars.  Last month I would have never recommended Turkish Airlines to anyone, ever. But today I am feeling much less brava and am remembering my four course meals in comfort class AND the hot washcloths before every meal. Oh! and my choice of French or Turkish wine, or both, let’s be real.

Grilled salmon, Veggies, ‘fine’ cheese and olives. Classy I know.

Fish Sandwich Man

The Old Spice Bazaar was as awesome as it looks

Sweets! All sorts of crazy concoctions, I could have eaten them for days

So many teas, I could have stayed here for a whole day, roaming the stalls and taste testing

After my brief tour of Istanbul, I headed straight for Zanzibar. It is TZ’s premiere tropical island, with white sand beaches, the bluest water and soo much seafood. I ate it everyday, everywhere I went, every which way. Fried Lobster Tandoori, Coconut Prawn Curry, Crusted Red Snapper, Shrimp on a Stick, whatever…Zanzibar is known especially for its spices, so the dishes were flavorful and always served with rice, boiled potatoes, cassava, or “chips”-also known as soggy undercooked french fries. Chapati was also real big with the locals for every meal and in our Safari lunch boxes. Chapati, pictured below, consists of flour water and oil, fried into a delicious bowel-stopping treat.

photo courtesy of klaudia at

You notice I don’t really talk about vegetables. Surprisingly I didn’t come across too many, even on the mainland. If I did they were cooked or fried. Salads and fresh veggies don’t exist there as a real side option. Sometimes you get lettuce and tomato, as seen above, as a topping; unless you’re at tourist restaurants, in which case you can find a little bit of everything.  I was able to get my hands on some delicious fruit though. I washed all my meals down with passion fruit juice or coffee or Konyagi– who needs water with that line-up.

One of my very best friends lives in Arusha, TZ’s 3rd largest “city” teaming with locals and tourists alike. Now I had some fancy pants meals there- 4 courses comes out to maybe 15$ with tip (heavenly I know).  But my friends couldn’t wait to take me to Chips Mayai- this local Swahili stand on the side of the road known for it’s 4am delicacies.

“Chips” with an omelette on top, chapati, pili pili (hottest little peppers ever) and of course weird hot sauce in a bottle

This is what getting wasted on Thursday night looks like in the wee hours of the morning before going home to bed for young and able Arushans.  It’s the equivalent of a bacon wrapped hot-dog outside the Shortstop in Echo Parque. Disgusting, yet perfect (and vegetarian). Cows are anorexic over there and more often that not, the meat tastes, well not as welcoming as I prefer. So I was a pseudo pescatarian most of the time, which was actually quite nice. This guy on the other hand is most definitely not.

That, my friends, is the circle of life

If your adventures ever take you to Eastern Africa, watch the Lion King before you go. Disney used a lot of Swahili in that movie and it makes safari just that more fun when you realize Simba actually does mean lion.


Back and Loving It

Here at Jennie Cooks we are really trying to step up our whole social media game. Internet presence is key according to many, so along with this lovely blog I’ve been working on “being social” in the realms of Facebook and Twitter (you should probably like us and follow us if you don’t already @jenniecooks or Plant Based Parties). It sounds like fun I know, but getting paid to tool around on the internet and talk about food and parties is surprisingly hard work. Always having to be witty and interesting and a know-it-all is just a lot of pressure.

That's me feeling stressed by my blogger's block

With that said,  I’ve been suffering from a writer’s block if you will. Nothing sounds interesting or funny to me anymore, my pictures seem boring, recipes trite. But the Queen of the Kitchen has ordered me back to the chopping block every week.  So I will focus all of my Tuesday attention to food and how awesome Jennie Cooks Catering is and how much people like us (thanks Green Girl!) and how more people should like us (Please yelp people). And why wouldn’t they? Look at that. It makes me want to eat beet burgers and chocolate cake at 9 in the morning.

Compliments of Alix’s Cute and Delicious Blog

Compliments of Mondette

I wish I had pictures of  Sharon Stone ( a very picky eater, despite that french fry) or Rascal Flatts (awesome eaters, even if their outfits aren’t), just some of our latest super celeb clients. No big deal. Or of the hilarious writers over at the top secret studio that shall not be named that we don’t feed. You should watch their 2 new shows about broke girls and diners and broke boys who dress like broke girls to make money. And if anyone knows the people over at the new show PanAm, you should hook a sister up with their number. I hear they spent $100 mill on their pilot alone, and I’m sure they’d love us too.

– Miranda