Eating with the Seasons 

Avocados. I’ve been desperately awaiting avocado season. My neighbor has an avocado tree in their backyard, and every time I see it, it’s a tease because there’s still a month or two before they can be eaten. 

I was recently listening to a podcast called “The Food We Eat” by the NPR TED Radio Hour. They talk to Mark Bitman, who discusses the food situation in America. He explains, “part of the problem is…the way we think about food right now is we expect to have any food we want within minutes.” He continues to say how, “if you want a mango, you can have it; if you want a tomato, you can have it.” Food is shipped all over that food is not eaten seasonally. Americans have an expectation to eat what they want, when they want it. 

In the U.S., the standard of convienence and ability to eat anything within minutes, has been something I have struggled with here in Madagascar. There is so much convienence due to packaged, frozen, canned, and processed foods. This convienence is not the same here in Madagascar. Meals cannot just be made within minutes, and I don’t have a fridge, so nothing can be sorted for longer than a day or two. The majority of Malagasy people cook on charcoal, which takes a lot longer than cooking on gas. Secondly, unless you want to live off packaged ramen, cookies, or chips, you have to cook. 

Living in a big market town does add a lot of convienence to my cooking. I don’t have to travel to another village to go to a market, and there is a market everyday (small, rural towns only have a limited market on certain days, if they have one at all). I can find onions, garlic, ginger, potatoes, greens, and bananas everyday. 

Piles of garlic and onions at the market

A classic scale is how produce is bought

Tomatoes, ginger, green beans, and onions

There are also carrots, green beans, cabbage, and tomatoes, but if they’ve been there a few, they aren’t always looking the freshest. Bananas, depending on the quantity available that day, are usually very cheap and abundant. Beets, which are one of my favorite finds, are a little on the expensive side for a Malagasy budget, but I love to buy them. 

Then there are the seasonal fruits. Lychee season sadly just ended. (I ate them buy the kilo, so good). Right now there are passion fruits, pineapples, and mangoes. I bought a pineapple the other day that cost the equivalent of 50 cents. Even though I’m still desperately dreaming of avocados, it’s eye opening to eat locally, but also seasonally. Everything may take longer to cook, but the ingredients are better. 

Mangoes are in season!

While I continue to struggle with the lack of convienence and access to certain foods, I find myself adapting to it. I don’t look towards eating packaged foods as much because it’s not there. While I was listening to the podcast, I was so amazed on how used to I was having the access to any foods at anytime I wanted, without even realizing it. I’ve began to accept this change in access and convienence, which has allowed me to take time and pride in everything I cook. The access to the same foods at the market forces me to amp up my creativity with my meals, but allows me to eat with the seasons, and eat only real foods. Here are some photos of my market: 

Hot Peppers

Jackfruits and greens

Plantains and greens

The meat market (chickens are bought live)

Busy day at the market

Measuring the weight

Bananas (like most of the produce) brought in from the countryside


2 thoughts on “Eating with the Seasons 

  1. Hi Molly, I look forward to your posts. It is such a different life you are living there but I can easily see you are adjusting just fine. You are eating healthier than we do here in the US. I doubt that you eat much meat. I am at a point where I’d like to give meat up and eat only vegetables and some protein through low fat dairy foods. But my husband loves food and I like to cook for him. I know what is healthy but find myself eating much unhealthy foods. Fresh veggies are wonderful and I love them – even raw.

    This is so much fun to be able to communicate with you even though we are across the world from one another. It is so interesting to see how people in other countries live. It is troublesome that so many people in this world live without their necessary needs. In a world of plenty, this shouldn’t happen.

    Looking forward to your next post. I’m so proud of you and what you are doing. The world needs more people like you. Love, Carol Gaglione

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for following my posts here! I do eat a lot of veggies, and meat sometimes. I make a lot of veggie stir-fry variations. I’m lucky to live by the ocean so I do get fresh seafood or fish for pretty cheap which is nice! I’m glad I can share with people the differences, but also the similarities between here and the US. I’ll try and post again soon! 🙂


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