“This is the local hotpot!”, said Elizabeth as she lifted the lid of her serving dish, “Can you see?”
I sat up and leaned over to get a better view inside…
… but I could not see.
I was expecting to be greated by sight and smell of some wonderful Kamba variety of beef stew or, at least, some interesting variation on the beans and maize theme. What I saw was a layer of pressed stainless steel where the serving dish’s lid had just been. I was thinking about what a local hotpot might be like; Elizabeth was still talking:
“… the local one. They don’t know quality.”
She shoved the dish towards me; I used the handle of a spoon to prize the metal disk away from a steaming feast of French beans carrots and potatoes inside (yummy, as always at her place, and veggie too!). Was this a local hotpot? Perhaps. I looked at Elizabeth who was triing to fit the metal disk into the lid she was holding:
“The other one is imported”, she said, “but this one is local. I have a foam too, but when the hot nini …”,
and with that she went into her kitchen and came back with a piece of expanded foam which was, for the most part, the same shape as the lid of her serving dish. She offered it to me together with the metal disk. I accepted and she started spooning the bean and carrot ‘hotpot’ into dishes and putting chapatis onto plates.
Now it all fitted together: the foam fitted perfectly into the hollow blue plastic lid (apart from where it had been melted by something hot) and the metal disk clipped in underneath to seal it alltogether. The whole thing was a Kenyan made serving dish (or ‘pot’) with insulating foam to keep the contents ‘hot’. Her other one is imported: made in India (I know because it’s been in my kitchen since last week, when she brought me cabbage and meat stew and chapatis, and I looked at it’s bottom when I got home.) where, presumably, they **do** know quality. The Kenyan-made lid had dismantled itself upon use, locking the food in the lower container with the steel disc and dropping the foam insulator in amongst the hot charcoals in her jiko!