The colour of the plate helps to see what is edible on it (see the article “What am I eating there?”). In Kenya, I had to revise my preference for white plates. And since some dishes are eaten with the fingers, new challenges emerged for a Stargardtien.
I prefer white plates. They are the best way to see whether there is anything edible on it. However, the national dish in Kenya is ugali, a kind of stiff porridge made of white maize. And Ugali on a white plate is very well camouflaged. A plainly coloured plate would be better.
Now, Ugali is mostly eaten with the fingers. Meaning that there are one or two plates that are placed in the middle of the table so that everyone can reach them. And since the restaurants are mostly rather dimly lit (especially in the evening), I often have to approach the Ugali by feeling my way. Fortunately, this is not too noticeable, since it is customary to knead the portion that you have just fished a little with one hand before eating it.
Things become more difficult with the meat plates. Traditionally, the Nyama choma consists of grilled goat, sheep or beef, which is cut into small pieces before serving - including bones and cartilage. The difference between pieces that primarily consist of bone and cartilage and pieces that have some meat on them is not apparent for me. I would have to grope the pieces briefly to find a nutritious one. That's not exactly polite towards my table mates, so I go in and grab at random. Which often leads me to pile up a respectable collection of bones and cartilage in front of me.
This article is part of the series "Stargardt in Africa".