bush meal

Hello everyone! This is Toni at the Bar coming to you live on the First.Day.of.Spring.

So my prompt to you all today is to write, not about the best picnic you ever went on but The Best Meal You Ever Ate. Plain and simple. What is the best meal you ever ate or what is one out of the top five best meals you ever ate? I would like a one – 3 paragraph haibun with a seasonal (season word included) in the haiku to end it and bring it all together. I don’t want politics included in the meal. I’d rather we keep this politic free. So please, no politics or jibes at anyone in office.

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Wise men talk about ideas, intellectuals about facts, and the ordinary man talks about what he eats. Mongolian Proverb

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The fire burns bright and sparks jump and dance in the night sky. Around me I see the dark black faces of African men. The conversation is animated. Words flying faster than the fiery sparks in Arabic, Wolof, Mandinka and Djola. I am lost here in this moment and yet I can sense a deep and ancient peace present in the circle. It’s always been this way here. I am in awe of this place and my mind wanders back in time and I think deeply about this spot. About my place in it. Right now. How can I, a Mancunian born lad, be so at home in Africa?

Lost in deep thought. Pondering the meaning of my own existence. Suddenly they are up and on their feet. Shouting and pointing and before I have any chance to ask what is happening they are gone. Running into the bush. Here I sit now. Alone in Africa. Wondering. Many ideas flash through my mind.Fear skirts around the edge of my consciousness and I feel my vulnerability here raw and exposed. There is however a moment. A point in time. Me. The Fire. Africa. Big Sky. Alone. Wow.

Shouts in the distance and shadows moving out of the darkness and once more into the fire light. Here is my answer. Bush Rat. Caught and clubbed in the dark African night. It is then singed and scraped of it’s hair with a knife and placed into the fire. Water is boiled in a pot and the scorched animal is cut into pieces and placed there along with herbs and local grown vegetables. I watch and wait. The conversation continues and all eyes are on me now as one man with words in my native English  turns and explains as we sit around the communal food plate. This is good medicine, I am told. I am lucky to be here tonight. We will eat well.

wisdom embracing

this night of starlit cosmos

bush rat tasting good

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32 responses to “bush meal

  1. That bush rat must have been a large animal. Seeing the stars would also be an unusual experience for me. I see some stars here, but not what I’d expect to see on a clear night in a rural area.

    • The Bush Rat is about the size of a cocker spaniel I guess. Plenty of meat for the 10 or so men sat round the fire. The skies are breathtaking. Hard to describe. The only other place I saw similar was Kauai.

  2. I love the way you’ve evoked the scene with the fire, sparks, the Babel of languages and the sense of being lost in he moment, Paul.. Not sure about bush rat, though 🙂

  3. This is a wondrous piece of writing, Paul. I am reminded of one of my solo trips to China in my past job….I was taken by a couple to a beautiful Chinese restaurant by a couple. This was their “honor” their “gift” to me. I have always had difficulty with some Chinese food and taken comfort in “pushing” some around my plate and unobtusively burying it in rice. At this meal, however, each dish was brought out separately. And I always feel strongly that it is important to honor the culture, the traditions, the friendship. I ate ducks’ feet that night. I ate sea anemone that was red and glistening and reminded me of a heart sitting on my plate. I concentrated on the eyes of my hosts and their hospitality and friendship. I think this would have been my response to this evening you describe.
    Ah….you’ve brought back many memories….good writing does that…has the reader “jumping” “connecting” to it.

  4. amazing what different cultures consider as soul food and delicacies that may churn the stomachs of others. that the meal offered to you was something special – and that they thought to include you shows you were special to them.

  5. What wonderful memories you have of wonderful places and glorious adventures. I would love to have shared that night.
    The Mongolian Proverbs is very wise.
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

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