Posted by: matt25 | May 27, 2012

If It’s Saturday It Must Be Bananas

If It’s Saturday It Must Be Bananas… Well, any day with a “Y” in actually. Believe me when I say I have no complaints about the food. It has been very good, if a more limited menu than what we Muzungu are accustomed to.

What’s a Muzungu? That is what I was called as a white man in Uganda. I didn’t mind because it is not used as a derogatory term but only as a general form of address. Take my word as a Muzungu, I am not kidding about the bananas. We had them served at just about every meal. Small sweet ones that are called matooke as well as larger ones that are more like plantains. At breakfast they are served raw and at other meals they are served both raw and cooked and mashed. Fr. Emmanuel told us they are not very good that way without gravy, “you have to put the gravy on them!” He is right, the gravy he was referring to is a thin sauce that comes from cooking chicken, beef, pork, or perhaps fish.

Along with the bananas and protein I just mentioned, it was common for us to have something like plain spaghetti, Irish potatoes either boiled or fried, a type of Ugandan sweet potato, rice, and also eggs and toast available for breakfast. Other common offerings included pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon and vegetables like beans, peas, carrots, and onions.

A word or two about unique indigenous foods. One day we decided to buy a jackfruit at a local stand, as well as some grasshoppers, which are considered a local delicacy to prepare for dinner. The jackfruit grows on trees and they are huge!


They are like great irregularly shaped watermelons with a pebbled, rather than a smooth skin. The inside of the fruit needs to be pulled apart in pieces with the seeds removed to be served, and it is similar to a pineapple in flavor but, with the texture of a ravioli or pierogi.

The grasshoppers are bought by the cupful with their wings and legs removed. They are then fried up crisp with some onions and perhaps tomato and salted to be eaten by the handful. Gregg said they tasted a bit like boiled peanuts but I found the flavor to be unique and quite enjoyable.


A word to the wise, go easy on the local cuisine when you visit a foreign country. Sometimes if you overdo it you may have to miss the next mornings itinerary after spending a nearly sleepless and uncomfortable night in your room.



  1. Reblogged this on idan220411 and commented:
    wow…. veeryb amazing fruits

  2. I loved the little ones running after us in Uganda (and even in Zambia) yelling to me: Muzungu! Muzungu! They would squeal with delight when I waved. I was told that it came from a term used to describe the first White explorers that came and did what all explorers do – they walked around. The term is from a local word that means “The one who walks around, looking” and it came to be the word used for white strangers. And oh yes – the bananas! I was there a year ago this week and I think I can still taste them. Can’t wait to go back. Blessing on the work! Maureen Pontifical Mission Societies Boston

  3. Thank you Maureen for the reminder as I unpack my experience, it is true the kids were very excited to see us wherever we went! I am also grateful to hear of the meaning behind Mazungu. Maybe we will be able to go on a tripand be Mazungu together some day, the Good Lord willing. 🙂

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