Our Family Table – Sharing Our Kenyan Culture Through Food

Ashley

Hey Everyone! In case you didn’t know March is National Nutrition Month – basically every dietitian’s favorite month of the year! It is definitely worth celebrating all month long! And what is this dietitian’s favorite way to celebrate? By enjoying amazing food, of course!

Presently we are in a culture where overeating is prevalent and mindful intuitive eating is becoming mainstream. We need to strike a balance between genuinely enjoying the eating experience, nourishing our bodies with what it needs to function at its highest capacity, and yet allowing ourselves to indulge in all foods in moderation, proper portion and balance. It’s really about listening to our bodies and being mindful and intuitive throughout the whole eating experience. Quite the harmonizing act, but all in the name of appreciating our food and allowing it to sustain our bodies so we can feel our personal best!

Food is a big part of every culture and every person, everywhere on planet earth. It truly has the power to connect and is inclusive of everyone. Food has the power to bring us to the table for conversation, relationship building and enjoyment of the food experience which includes both eating and preparation. Throughout my travels around the world that is the biggest theme.

Many of you know that my husband is from Kenya and we make it a point to travel there as often as possible so that our boys can know their family and know Kenya in a very personal and genuine way, especially in terms of the food experience. I wanted to take time to share the meaning of food and the eating experience in Kenya – the symbolism of food is incredible, and every culture and society holds their own beliefs.

In traditional Kenyan fare, there is ALWAYS sautéed greens, its not a meal without them. In fact, the most common green is called Skuma Wiki – think of it like kale or collard greens. The meaning behind it in Kiswahili – one of the main languages is, “to get through the week.” Families that are unable to afford other foods rely on this very common and low-cost green to satisfy them through the week when other foods are unavailable due to cost.

Ugali – Many Kenyans, especially the men don’t believe they can be truly satisfied or full without this staple. It is a corn-based flour that is cooked and formed into a dense cake. This is basically the mashed potatoes of Kenya!

Chapati – this is like a homemade flour tortilla. It’s my ABSOLUTE favorite food in Kenya. My son LOVES them, and he begs Grandma Kenya (as we call her) to make them literally every day when he is with her. There is so much time and effort including very special skills put in to make the perfect chapati. It is served to visitors, especially after a long safari (journey) to symbolize appreciation of the visitor and a very sincere welcome to the guest.

Kachumbari – This is like a side salad but think of it as a fresh salsa. It has diced tomatoes, chopped onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and sometimes fresh avocados.

Meat – Meat is expensive in Kenya. The most common meats served are beef and goat. The meat is either roasted on the grill (choma) or put into a stew to dip the ugali and chapati. Meat is really a status symbol of wealth in Kenya. It is very common for a well-to-do Kenyan to slaughter a whole goat or even a whole cow depending on the number of guests, as a welcome and symbol of genuine appreciation for the guests visiting. Someone who is less financially fortunate will provide the best that they have, even if it means the family will suffer for the week leading up to the visit and the week after hosting a guest. If a chicken is available, the host will even slaughter their last chicken and prepare it for the guest.

If you haven’t noticed, the guest is truly the most important person in the Kenyan culture and Kenyans hold them to the highest regard, truly rolling out the red carpet to their greatest capacity to make their guest feel most welcome and most comfortable. This is all accomplished through the food offered and the event of the meal shared at the table.

This is only the beginning of the food symbolism in the Kenyan culture. Where are your roots and family heritage/ancestry? We would love to hear! What are the most important foods in your culture and what are their meanings?

“Food is our common ground and our universal experience” – James Beard

“The power of food is very spiritual. It not only brings the whole family on the same table, but also brings the whole world together” – Vikas Khanna

Peace and Wellness,
Ashley, RD, LD 

Have Left Over Rotisserie Chicken?

Jayne

I’m so excited because I found a new recipe that has avocado in it and I love avocado!!!

Besides being a healthy item, this recipe can be served as a great appetizer, a light easy dinner or a great healthy snack for the kids. This is so quick to make and I served it for an appetizer at a party I was invited to and it was the hit of the party.

I purchase rotisserie chicken on a regular basis and never know what to do with leftover chicken and now this is the perfect recipe to use up your leftovers.

Get the recipe for these awesome Chicken Avocado Salad Roll Ups here

This is such a great treat….enjoy!!!

Jayne,
Coborn’s, Inc. Merchandising Specialist Team Manager – Bakery & Deli

Blueberry, Avocado & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Blueberry, Avocado & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Blueberry Low-Fat Lifeway Kefir
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. Avocado
  • 1 Banana, frozen
  • Additional Toppings
  • Granola
  • Blueberries
  • Banana Slices
  • Fresh Mint
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour into 1-2 Bowls. Top with desired toppings. 
Notes
Try adding 1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed or 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds for added nutrition!

 

 

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 16 oz boneless, chicken breasts
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans
  • 15 oz can no salt added black beans
  • 16 Oz. salsa verde
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2-3 Tbsp corn starch
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken with a fork and return to slow cooker. Mix well.
  3. Serve with desired toppings.
Topping Ideas:
  • cilantro
  • shredded cheese
  • green onion
  • crumbled tortilla chips
  • avocado
  • bread

Valentine’s Cupcakes

 

 

www.cobornsblog.com The art of Cakes with Amanda

Amanda

Can’t decide between getting your sweetheart flowers or a delicious dessert? Here’s an idea that brings them together, an arrangement of cupcake roses! With a turn table you can make these unique looking rose cupcakes, and bonus, it’s a fun technique to try!

Amanda,
Coborn’s, Inc. Pastry Arts Training Specialist
www.cobornsblog.com - The Art of Cakes with Amanda

Chicken Fajita Salad With Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne

Jayne

Happy New Year and best wishes in 2018!!

I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season together with family and friends! As the New Year starts so do the diets and getting back on track with eating healthy foods. I really like this time of year because Continue reading

Jayne’s Top 10 Holiday Appetizers

www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne

Jayne

Happy Holidays! As you know, I absolutely LOVE this time of the year. There are so many wonderful traditions, tons of beautiful decorations and of course, great food to try! Here’s my Top 10 Holiday Appetizer Recipes for you to enjoy with your family and friends during this Holiday Season.

You can find videos for all these recipes and more on our youtube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can stay up to date on all my upcoming videos! Enjoy! Continue reading

Keep Food Fresh With a Vacuum Sealer

www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne

Jayne

Hi everyone!!
It’s official… our summer is over and we are full steam ahead into fall and harvest time. If you are like me, we are right in the middle of trying to use up all our vegetables out of the garden so they don’t go to waste.  Continue reading

Keep flies away from Food

www.cobornsblog.com - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim

Kim

Hello again everyone! I was asked to talk to you today about flies and whether or not a person should be worried if a fly lands on their food. Well……it is not a very pleasant subject because as much as we would like to dismiss them as just pesty little buggers that like to ruin our outdoor food fun, they really are capable of carrying various pathogens (the bacteria that can cause disease). It is for this reason we do not want flies landing on our food. Continue reading

Grilled Food and Wine Pairing

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor

Mike

Pairing wine with food should be a fun endeavor especially when it comes to summer grilling. Balancing flavors is a good starting place where you don’t want one element to overpower another like a Cabernet might do to shrimp skewers or steak might do to Pinot Grigio. Texture can be important too and is demonstrated well by a wine with tannins cutting through a fattier piece of meat. As I once heard, another way to think of pairing food & wine is to treat wine like another condiment. Try to create a similar effect to squeezed lemon on seafood or pesto on a steak or salad. Finally if all else fails pick a sparkling wine like Prosecco to pair with grilled food as those bubbles can pair with nearly anything. With all that said, here are some old & new favorites I will be enjoying this summer… Continue reading

Add Color and Nutrition to Your Grill


Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com

Ashley

Hey all- in my world- its grilling season already! We have had a few nice days and you can bet my grill was out cooking away! There is nothing more appetizing than the smell of freshly grilled food! Continue reading