It’s rare to talk about Kenyan mamas without the subject of their prowess in the Kitchen.
So today we are on about mothers and Chapatis.
We waited with and minus patience at the outcome of the chapati promise.
Such days they were…
When the much anticipated chapo were laid out before eager lads and lasses.
It was a mini Sunday festival.
The boys scoured the estate courtyards.
Who’s family was making chapos tonight?
The giddy wafts of rising aroma filled smoke made it easy to stalk the Destiny household.
The process and procedure started much earlier even planned a week or the month before.
“Next week we need to make some chapos for the children ”
Mother spoke to whoever was within ear reach.
Most of the time she’d be speaking to the kitchen walls. And when the walls talked to us children, the dancing for chapo day would start until they arrived on a platter one Sunday or Saturday evening.
The ritual started by Ex flour arriving home on the counters attached to the walls. Extra tins of oil. If yellow, yes.
“Chapoz drink oil than other dishes.”
And the kneading started.Combining salt, white or brown flour, oil and hot water
The pulping of dough.
The ball counting…
A commitment to how many each eater would have.
If the count went down. New flour would be kneaded. Mothers knew best. They even considered saving extras for breakfast. Slip a quarter in the last born’s school pocket.
A posh snack.
And then came the energetic part.
The roll-out and oiling of entire circumference. The sight helped remember maths topics.
And the stretching and coiling.
“If you want more softer layers, this is a must.” Declared mother wrapping stretchy dough round her fingers.
We counted with the eyes at the stack.Imagine how many we’d have to ourselves.
A privilege to have full two rounded one’s.
Next to a bowl of vegetable stew.
The standard serving.
Or chicken stew.
My favourite and a cost higher.This happened at Christmas. I tell you.
The combination led your toungue to heavenly realms.
Chapos were feasted upon at dusk and as evening descended on the day’s light.
The longevity of cooking aroma messing all plans.
Even then visitors didn’t quit stopping by.
Evenings didn’t stop or limit the number of visitors dying to pinch one chapati into quotas.
Or dip a pinched quarter into the
inviting dengu stew sometimes bean stew.
The love for chapos have now led to improvised snacks like Rolex
The wrapping of a vegetable filled omelette inside a chapo.
So these days mother’s are turning this unique diet into a business and new younger mothers are not learning anything on the patience of making chapos.
They churn out burn plasma like shapes.
If you have no time, dive into those smoky kiosks in the city.You might bump into the real thing. Making chapo is an art and takes lots of love and patience which only mothers could have for a family of 12 sons and daughter seated waiting to drown in the bliss of chapos on their tongues.
No taste beats that of soft layered crunchy chapati in your mouth.
School visits were not complete if chapos did not accompany the visiting.
This is how much chapos were missed when the children left home for boarding schools.
Appearing armed with a dozen chapos vindicated parents from parental neglect.
Fresh or lasting 3 days to a week. Chapos sneaked at meal times proved you had a visit from home, and mothers’ thoughts were with you.
It’s said chapoz arrived in Kenya via Indian rail workers.They called them chuppatti.
But trust Kenyans to take up things by storm and Kenyanize it.
And so today it’s a hallowed Kenyan dish called Chapoz!