“Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil…” 2 Kings 4:2
It was rainy season. The next trip to our market town was still two weeks away. And that was questionable since the roads had to dry up considerably before we could get out to resupply.
I was out of eggs. There wasn’t an egg to be had anywhere. Eggs are so necessary for cooking. For years I dealt with the either-rotten-eggs-or-no-eggs problem. I tried raising chickens and having my own supply. One by one the chickens died. One drowned in a rain storm. Most died of chicken disease.
I tried freezing eggs, but even then you can only store so many eggs in a tiny freezer which is very important for other things…like ice. Powdered eggs from the USA are great, but that supply too, runs out. Burying eggs in sand so that they last longer, turning your eggs weekly, and not washing eggs (especially hard not to do when they still have feathers and other stuff all over them). Truly, eggs were a big part of my cooking challenge.
That’s when I started my substituting. Do you know you can make cakes, pancakes, and puddings without eggs? I felt so free. I didn’t have to have eggs.
Brown sugar was a little less traumatic. You can make brown sugar with molasses, but again, the molasses doesn’t last forever. That too has to come from the USA. Any cookie recipe calling for brown sugar tastes just as good with white (well, almost). Powdered sugar was sometimes available, but often not. If it was, I bought a LOT of powdered sugar. If not, I tried putting sugar in the blender. A poor substitute. Best to make a pudding icing and forget the powdered sugar all together.
Cheese. It simple did not exist. What a loss. There is no substitute for cheese. It is a woeful loss. We tried making it. That required going to the village that had the cows that produced the milk and begging for more than your fair share of the milk. I don’t know of anyone who tried it more than once. Towards the end of our career in Africa, I have to admit, we could buy cheese. It was so pampering.
More on this next week, but meanwhile, here’s an old favorite egg-less cookie recipe –
- ½ c. margarine
- 2 c. sugar
- ½ c. milk
Boil to soft stage. Take off stove and add:
- 3 c. oatmeal
- 4 T. cocoa
- ½ t. vanilla
- 1/8 t. salt
Mix together and drop on to wax paper by spoonfuls. Ready to eat when cooled and hardened.