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In our jungle home, we eat a lot of foods that others back in our home country, the United States, never eat (We have eaten tree kangaroo and cassowary—a flightless bird—before!). But we actually eat lots of American foods like macaroni and cheese, pizza, and sandwiches (but we have to make the pasta and the bread from scratch, of course!). On a regular basis we eat lots of fruits and veggies like squash, carrots, green beans, cabbage, onions, garlic, avocados, bananas, oranges, corn, greens, and so on. We also eat a lot of soup, sandwiches, and pastas. Some of our special meals are pizza, egg rolls, and soft tacos.
Sometimes we eat something not so nice. One time Dad was eating his mac ‘n cheese and a stink bug fell into it from the roof; he didn’t notice it until it was in his mouth! He didn’t eat mac ‘n cheese for about a month after that incident. Or there was the time when my mom forgot and left the pressure cooker on, and our soup turned into what she called “roadkill stew.” Or the time one of us was given a big hunk of pig fat at one of my first feasts and wasn’t sure what to do with it. It still had a bit of hair on it!
A favorite food comes from a kind of pandanas (palm-like trees). It has a big red fruit, and our tribal friends boil it, drain it, and mash it with their hands in a long tray. Next, they add water and try to get all the seeds away from the flesh. They make it into a paste. It has a delicious bland taste. It doesn’t grow all year, so we get really hungry for it by the time the season comes around.
Here’s a delicious recipe that our mom makes for us Wilds in Southeast Asia that you can make at home:
Lentil Curry with Vegetables & Rice
Serves 6 Wilds
- Vegetables of your choice (we recommend carrots, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans and shredded cabbage)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bag of dried lentils
- 3 Tbs curry powder
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
- 3 cups of uncooked rice
Cook rice according to directions. While the rice is cooking, cut all the vegetables. Sauté the onions and garlic, then add the vegetables to a medium-size pot or covered skillet. Add broth. Rinse lentils thoroughly and add them to the vegetables. Add curry and salt. Cook over medium heat or until everything is tender (about 40 minutes). Lower the heat and add coconut milk. Cook 5 minutes longer.
Serve the curry over rice.
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