From corn starch to fruit bats to stinging nettle, returned missionaries share food stories

Mission experiences with food are often some of the most memorable

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  • Mikaele63 ,
    March 16, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    In Samoa in the mid-1960s there were quite a few things unfamiliar to American palates, but many others like "palusami" — a baked combination of young taro leaves, coconut cream, salt & onions — that quickly became everyone's favorite; not so much the wide variety of sea creatures and innards. However, it wasn't a problem for me but I was always surprised at how many of the American missionaries had never eaten plain white rice before arriving in the mission field: The Samoans would often mix it with "koko" (chocolate, which grew there), and serve it as a "koko alaisa" breakfast gruel. One of the stranger dishes I remember being served was a bright-green parakeet soup, which our host was very proud of but I couldn't help feeling sorry for the scrawny little namesakes that floated in the broth.

  • armbe Las Vegas, NV
    March 16, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    My husband and I served as the office couple in the Baltic Mission from 2004 - 2005. Our Latvian food experience came early on - we were shopping in the tirgus (open market) for items for our apartment. As the day wore on, we became thirsty and were drawn to a large keg of something that looked like root beer. My husband bought a cup and took a huge swig. It was not root beer, which is too sweet for the Latvians. It was a drink called kvass. The nearest I can describe the flavor is that it is like horehound. We learned later the drink is derived from rye bread. I later developed a taste for certain brands of kvass, but my husband could never get past that first shocking swig. Good times!

  • iNKSpot Wilsonville, OR
    March 15, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    When I was serving in France, one of our missionaries sent home some Roquefort cheese. His folks threw it out because had spots of mold all through it! Another missionary serving in Belgium got a Christmas package from home with packets of Knorr soup . . . which were manufactured in Belgium! My biggest hangup was the milk in Paris: In the 1960s it was pasteurized but not homogenized — ugh, lumps of cream! I got used to escargot and squid but could never handle raw oysters.

  • utah cornhusker NORFOLK, NE
    March 14, 2013 11:55 p.m.

    While serving in the Philippines in 81-82 I had baloot which is a baby duck egg. I thought id try it to see what it was like shortly after I arrived there and tried it again before I came home. My gut had such a hard time digesting it both times you'd think I would have learner the first time around but I never did.