Growing up we only knew maize meal porridge, boxed cereals were only for babies most notably Cerelac, I think made by Nestle. I think I had cornflakes when I was in high school after seeing my school mates bring it to school. I went to a mission boarding school like many people and the food was mostly bad, nutritionally it was good but tasted horrible. In all fairness I think these schools are designed to make good quality education at the lowest price but I hated the food. To supplement the food we would get from the school we would bring tuck food and this is how I was introduced to boxed cereal otherwise I had only known maize meal porridge.
There is one constant in my mother’s house, every morning you have porridge then you can have anything else. My mother believes it helps you ward off a lot of airborne ailments, I can not confirm that but this is how I grew up. What I can confirm is that it is easy to make, nutritious and affordable – at the very least all you need is water and maize meal. This is also what nearly everyone I know learnt to cook first.
This recipe is for one:
1 cup water
1/4 cup maize meal
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp peanut butter (optional)
2 tsp sugar (optional)
Boil 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Blend the maize meal with a 1/4 cup of water.
Add the blended maize meal to the simmering water and stir until it starts bubbling. Depending on the type of maize meal you use it may be too thick or too runny. If it is too thick add a little bit of water and whisk. If it is too thin blend some more maize meal and add to the saucepan.
Cover pot and let it bubble for 5 minutes, however if the pot is bigger you will need to add more time. Another way is to eyeball the color of the maize meal, it starts to turn into a creamy color especially if it is the wholegrain.
Add the salt and peanut butter and stir. Reduce heat and let it bubble for five more minutes. I prefer for my peanut butter to be cooked however you can omit the peanut butter if you do not like it or if you are allergic to peanuts.
Scoop it into a serving bowl. I like my porridge sweet so I add the sugar and mix it in. You can also add a chopped slice of bread, some milk, butter or even boxed cereal.
This is what the saucepan looks like, the porridge gets crusty at the bottom and we call the crust “Goko”. I don’t know about now but when I was in school people would fight over it to eat as a snack.