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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back in the USA

It had been awhile since I'd seen Catherine; the last time was when we drove back from Boston after the marathon there. Her flight back to Kenya had been canceled due to the volcano ash and her trip home was postponed. So it was really nice to see her on Sunday and catch up on everything! I arrived at the Norristown training home where there are currently four Kenyan athletes living: Catherine, her brother, Samuel Ndereba,
(sura ya kazi!)
Irene Limika and Simon Ndirangu.
Fortunately, it was Sunday, the day no one trains  because it is the day for church and relaxation. The weather the past few days had been ridiculously hot & humid; above 95F, and they all said how difficult the heat was. So not a good day to train but, it was a perfect day to go produce shopping! Thankfully, as soon as we were ready to leave, the skies opened up and a huge storm passed through, cooling off the sticky temperature by over 20 degrees; it felt SO nice!
When we got back from the produce store, Catherine started cutting up vegetables. She loves to cook and I love watching and learning. I am hoping to be able to cook like the Kenyans soon! They use all fresh ingredients and the stews are SO good! So I watch and take mental notes. I reminded Catherine about her promise to teach me how to make Mukimo and she said she definitely will soon. I can't wait! In the meantime, I took good notes on how to make Chapati. It is really a team effort both on the track and off with this group of runners managed by Lisa Buster. In the house, they all take turns preparing meals and sometimes even prepare them together. I find it interesting especially since in Kenya it is definitely NOT that way. There, the women do the cooking and you generally will not see the men in the kitchen! I mentioned that to Samuel and Simon and they both agreed that is true but here in the U.S. they all work together!

Here you can see how they all made Chapati as a team!

First, Samuel mixes the dough; today he combined some Chapati (whole wheat) flour with some white flour, he mixed in some shredded carrots and combined with enough water to make the dough. It almost looks like pizza dough!
Simon Ndirangu (L) & Samuel Ndereba (R)
Then he put some oil on the table so the dough wouldn't stick and rolled the dough out very thin. The next step was to score the dough vertically with a knife so the dough now stood in strips.

Next was to roll up the strips into pinwheels (looking almost like a Cinnabon!) He then dipped the pinwheels in flour, dusting each one lightly.

 Then it was time to roll out each "bun" into a perfectly formed circle that looked almost like a large pancake!

It was at this point that Irene stepped in; she would take each "pancake" and cook it in a very hot, cast-iron pan, carefully turning it often so it doesn't burn (trust me, you have to be careful! Last year in Kenya Catherine's mother taught me how to make Chapati and let me make a few. Catherine was able to pick out every one I made because they were a little burned!)

Once Irene had cooked each Chapati, it was time for Simon to step in. He took each one, put it in the cast-iron pan and basted it lightly with oil making sure not to burn them. And that was it! Chapati was ready!

In the meantime, Catherine was working on the stew. All the fresh veges she had cut up were simmering nicely to form it. Finally it was time for dinner and well worth the wait as always! 

Catherine was in great spirits and said she's feeling great and looking forward to some upcoming races; the Beach to Beacon in Maine August 7th and the Cigna Falmouth Road Race August 15th. 

It was a fun, relaxing afternoon/evening with everyone and I'm looking forward to more days like it. Welcome back Catherine!

Here we had some fun taking our own photos!  There's no hiding that Catherine & Samuel are brother and sister!

Me & Catherine
  Me & Samuel
Me & Irene


Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!