Sunday, July 13, 2014

Double Feature: The Lion King

Week 8, Part II:

I've been hoping to draw The Lion King for a long time. You could say I just couldn't wait for The Lion King (I didn't stand on top of hippos, gazelles, giraffes, or ostriches though). Since I wasn't able to go to Africa with my family on a mission trip, I have been longing to try the recipes and just dig out some old pictures and reminisce a bit. I love the friendships I have made with the people of Kenya and am in awe of their love and relationship with God. Be prepared (Scar's scary voice) for me to brag on them and their country quite often in this post.

Kenya, as it turns out, meant a lot to the filmmakers, too. The main locations in The Lion King, such as Pride Rock and the Gorge, were modeled on "Hell's Gate National Park" in Kenya. Although, the mountain shown in the opening scene looks like Mount Kilimanjaro, which is in Tanzania, south of Kenya.

Before we get started with the menu, I am sure we all think of the same thing when we think of The Lion King. The opening song (cue random word-singing now). I knew some of the words based on their similarity with Kiswahili, but I've included the translation, and actual words, for your enjoyment below. No more iiiii, sweatyfeetsofmine, ewww (extra loud, because its the only part you think you know for sure),....(insert funny lyrics you make up to finish the song).

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]

Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba

Sithi uhhmm ingonyama


Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]


Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [A lion and a leopard come to this open place]

Ya...makes much more sense in English.

Now for the menu straight from the hornbill's mouth.

Of course, being lions, we had to do meat. We were going to do zebra, but...

So,we "settled" for a HUGE, and delicious, steak from a local butcher shop with the Sanders-secret family marinade on top. Hakuna matata!

Moving on, I had a couple recipes from one of my friends in Kenya for irio (a mashed potato-like side) and chapati (a tortilla-like food) that I've been saving up for this night. Florence worked for the missionaries in Maua and we hit it off on my very first trip. She was so bubbly, loving, and kind you couldn't help but catch her happiness whenever you were around her. She was a fantastic cook and taught me pratically all the Swahili I know.

The food came out pretty close to what I remember it tasting like, but I learned a couple things. One, I am HORRIBLE at shaping round, tortilla-like shapes. Two, I should have mashed the potatoes separately from the other ingredients of the irio, because the resulting look was unappealing (pea soup look).

Other than those two small errors, I was pretty proud of myself.

Here are a couple pictures of some much better Kenyan cooks than I. The Maua Methodist Hospital kitchen staff with the old kitchen. Then, the new kitchen that the Savutos, original missionaries I met, dedicated!

I couldn't possibly come close to capturing Kenya in cuisine as these great people do every day, of course, but I did wear my apron that I bought from a Zoe (orphan-run) business.

Last, but not least, on the original menu were zebra cakes! I know, I know, I couldn't contain my excitement either. Little Debbie nailed it with these!

Like I said, that is it for the ORIGINAL menu, but, of course, I added a few things. I just can't help it.

First, I added Kenyan tea. If there is one thing that the Kenyans are on time for and never forget, it is tea-time. I always enjoyed taking tea. Mostly due to Florence having "baby bananas", cookies, and other treats, but also because it was a nice time to sit and relax with everyone. Kenyan tea has a lot more milk than British tea that I have had and has a certain flavor all its own. I mean they have their own fields, mountains, etc. of the stuff. I used a chai tea (with 2-4 spoons of sugar and quite a bit of milk, about 1/4 of my big cup) for mine and it was delightful. Maybe not spot on, but pretty close.

Samosas, another Kenyan tea-time snack, were supposed to be added as well, but the restaurant I was getting them from (R&R Express) was closed for, guess what, a wedding! O well, congrats to the bride and groom!

Next, I had to pay tribute to two of my favorite characters in this movie, its ok old Rafiki I didn't forget about you, Timon and Pumbaa.

Of course, Timon and Pumbaa are bugetarians, so I scoured the city with Justice looking for some grubs. It would've been much easier if this cereal was still out.

But, you got to put your behind in the past, or the past behind you. Hakuna matata, again. So, we had some slugs, cream-filled of course, sour earth worms, and a rare pink beetle on two small logs (aka the following gummy treats on Slim Jims).

One thing to say on these....

I know I have already gone a little crazy with the zebras, but I had to add one more thing. Fruit Stripes gum. Where my 90's kids at?!?! If I thought the bugs were hard, I was never prepared for how hard it was to find a store with this fruity gum still in stock. It was online, of course, but I didn't have time to order it. On our last stop, when we were looking for something else, Justice found it (only one of two left!).

Throw your hands in the air moment? Yup, yup, yup! I mean, come on, zebra tatoos and not a mint flavor in sight!!

Here is a banana peel, yes you read that right, picture of our striped friends that I got in Maua from a local vendor.

Now for the MANE event! The PRIDE of the food I made that day.

Since it was The LION King, I had to include lions in some form. So, I made...Lion King cookies!

The king (kings in this case) has returned and my, what big paws he has!

Just a pride of lions, no big deal. Yes, the females don't have ears. I got tired of slicing almonds, ok? I couldn't find them pre-sliced. Sorry, Nala.

I found the recipe/idea for these cookies on this site: The only changes I made were the sliced almonds (unplanned) and the chocolate sugar cookie manes (planned). Justice decided a lighter color was more realistic to real male lions, so I used peanut butter cookies (very hard to make smooth and shape, I may add). They did turn out pretty adorable though.

Here is the full meal.

I included some of my Kenyan-made trinkets in these pictures. My friend, Freda, made most of them, but Lena (not pictured) made the tablecloth and gave me the "Guide to Swahili" book and Reverend Paul and Selline Korir's church gifted me with a gourd. The gourd symbolizes a cow which is the highest gift someone can bestow on you in Kenya. It can keep milk good for up to a year. Take that American plastic!

Now, I will shamelessly show my favorite pictures of animals from my trips to Kenya and the waterfall in Maua (think Timon and Pumbaa's oasis. Seriously, they exist in Kenya).

Let us start our safari (no, not the internet search engine) in the serengeti.

Here we have....

Rafiki! Meaning "friend" in Swahili. Such a wise, old monkey. He is modeled after an African shaman. He is a wise elder and perfoms symbolic rituals. Fun fact: During the film, Rafiki sings a nonsense chant: "Asante sana, squash banana, wewe nugu, mimi hapana." This is a Swahili playground rhyme which translates to "Thank you very much (squash banana), you're a baboon and I'm not!" Like "hakuna matata" (no worries), the chant was heard by the filmmakers on their research trip to Kenya.

Don't take his stick though! Kind of reminds me of my rafiki, Titus, in that way!

When I was a young warthog...

I'm spotting a lot of spots!

Zazu, the king's chief dodo. Speaking of dodos, my friend Moses caught one for me. Poor thing. Had to sing "lovely bunch of coconuts" or Moses's favorite "monkey on the table" all day while I was traveling back from working on another site.

Now for the lion's share (by the way, simba means lion in Swahili)..

And as for the oasis, here is Maua, the flower of Kenya.

This goes without saying. It still gets you every time, do you deny it?!

Had to include this, because of the little pieces of God you can find in this movie. You just have to look HARDER. Think about it, a heavenly father who loves, forgives, and lives in you. My dad has even used scenes from The Lion King in sermons. Ya, I have the coolest dad EVER!

Hmm..peculiar weather we are having.

O, I almost forgot the most important thing that happened right before (ok, ok the day before on July 12th) this meal. We welcomed a new cub to the Gatewood family. Isn't she beautiful?! Karibu (Welcome) Kinsley Brooke!

Another royal baby was born around this time last year (July 22nd), Prince George! Guess what?! His parents got engaged in...wait for it...Kenya!!

That concludes our visit to the pridelands. What's next? Justice got...

Coming Soon: The Emperor's New Groove!

Until then, mungu aku bariki, rafiki (God bless you, friend)!