Left to my own devices, I will usually cook (or more usually get somebody else to cook) vegetables of assorted colors with chili, ginger and garlic. Maybe add some fish or egg. Or lentils stewed with spinach and spices.
But here, the French influence means food is just a garnish for increasingly irritating sauces, though the food apparently wasn’t very good before the French arrived either.
At the French-influenced establishments, everything is either something au buerre or something else meuniere.
At the Malagasy places, it is either pork and rice or zebu (a skinny humped cattle) and rice.
One local dish I like: Romazava which is usually a zebu soup with a kind of slightly bitter spinach. I eat the spinach, drink the soup and leave the meat. This of course creates confusion. I think they are trying to find a way of throwing me out on my ear while backing away from me slowly.
At one place I persuaded them to make me “legumes saute” with “pas du beurre” (veges, hold the butter). I tell them just put in every vegetable they have in the kitchen. The vegetables they grow here are quite good and quite a good variety, but somehow the result still doesn’t taste that good. I can picture chaos in the kitchen:
“pas du beurre!! pas du beurre!! well wtf are we going to do with them then??”
but I am certainly a lot healthier than if I was just eating pigs and cows (meuniere).
Here we have a zebu eating like there is no tomorrow, which for him likely there isn’t.
Once, crossing the Baluchi desert, the only food available was Dahl (with flat bread of course) and once a week subze (veges). At least the Baluchis knew, within their constrained circumstances, how to eat. Given their ancient and extensively-documented custom of putting to the sword people they don’t like, I do sometimes fantasize about taking a bunch of these leathery, short-fused, well-armed gents on a Michelin 4-Star restaurant crawl. There would be meuniere in the streets.
Here we have duck with veges, almost ready to eat.