My roommates have always found my steady supply of bananas quite odd. Here in Turkey, bananas are quite pricey compared to other fruits and I remember when I suggested making a banana pie at a friend’s place, everyone looked at me in sheer horror. It still doesn’t stop me from including it as one of my five a day once in a while.
Bananas are probably the most common fruit in Mauritius, which probably is why they usually find themselves at our breakfast table. However defining the Mauritian breakfast is quite difficult due to the complexity of our cuisine – a fusion of native African or what we called Creole, Chinese, Indian and European cuisines. With so many choices at our fingertips, it’s no surprise really that there were times I woke up to chapattis, crêpes or croissants, amongst others, over the years. What doesn’t change however is our boiling cup of tea with milk, and sugar for most, at our side to wake us up slowly and steadily. Even my dad who rarely sits down for breakfast has to have his cup of tea in the morning.
Then again in many households, it’s quite hard to go without the daily “pain maison” or baguette whose prices are actually regulated by the government. For about ten years now, whole wheat bread had been available but only subsidised in the recent years if I’m not mistaken making it available to everyone.
A quick spread of butter and throw in sliced/grated Kraft cheddar processed cheese – we’re not big connoisseurs of cheese down there and it’s definitely the cheaper option. My mother always used to go crazy at my choice of cheese and I remember the ruckus she made once when I grated a whole lot of Gouda in my pie crust (she’s secretly happy I went vegan).
We do tend to have a sweet tooth and since I was little, I got into the habit of having half of my bread salty – with cheese – and the other half sweet – with jam. My childhood favourite was definitely pineapple jam which is so much better than the boring old strawberry jam (I’m not a big fan of strawberry flavour, I think it tastes fake).
Since I wasn’t sure where to find processed cheese here for the roommates (just the thought of it is repelling), we went with kaşar cheese which was the closest I could think of to cheddar. Whilst they reveled in the queer selection of food in front of them, I contented myself with some bread and jam accompanied with my banana. I sneaked in some hazelnut spread as a replacement for Nutella.
I think the most strange on the table for the girls was definitely the milky tea. My Turkish roommate said she tried making it once and it was horrible. I myself prefer black tea to milky tea but I made an exception this time and I’m still not sure I quite like the taste of tea with almond milk (or anything sort of milk) in it. It definitely took more than a bit of courage for them to drink that up and they did quite like it. Turkish tea is definitely different from the tea we have down here. The closest I had was my precious Earl Grey stock but it did the job quite well. Whilst I think they wouldn’t go out of their way to have milky tea again, it definitely change their opinions about it.