Dear Meredyth,

It feels like Game of Thrones over here in Botswana. Why you may ask? Well it’s not because of an increase of dragons, epic battles, evil dead people or lots of nudity. No, it’s because the phrase, “winter is coming”, is now the phrase I hear the most ever day. I say “good morning” or “dumela” to every person in the village I pass, the response was “no problem” or “ga gona mathatha”; now it’s, “winter is coming”. The once cheery outlook of the villagers is now a bit ominous.

Last year I had serious doubt that “winter” actually existed in Africa. It was so incredibly hot for so long that I could not fathom the other extreme. I was so wrong. I did learn some lessons from last year and I am taking the necessary measures to lessen my pain during this winter. I have a good stock of wool socks, army issued thermal pajamas (thanks Wendy), a sleeping bag liner (thanks Mary Ann), bags of assorted teas (thanks Mom), 10 bean soup (thanks to you) and a stock of good books. Bring it on cold nights!

With the changing of the season comes new produce in the stores, which is a really exciting thing for a PCV, since not much else in my life changes. Cold weather food is my absolute favorite. In the last few weeks I have really been trying to experiments and test out new produce and recipes. The winners for the vegetable category: turnips, hands down.

I do my shopping once a week and I have to get everything I buy stuffed into a bag, carried to the bus rick, shoved into a packed combi, and get it into my house two to three hours later. So I need produce that is up to that challenge.

I bought turnips because they look sturdy and the sweet potatoes selection looked questionable. I did not know what to do with them, so I did what I do with all my root veggies, but them in my lentils. This trial was a failure. Maybe it was a spicing error on my part but the flavor of turnips was overwhelming in the soup and it did not compliment the other flavors at all.

I went to Kelly for guidance regarding my turnip dilemma and of course she had great suggestions. Try them roasted with cinnamon, salt and a bit of olive oil. Yes, that’s amazing. Try them mashed like you would any old potato. Yes, that’s delicious. My friend Jvani heard on Good Eats that Alton Brown sneaks them into homemade applesauce. Winner.

I am a turnip lover.

In other news, I have officially quit smoking. Today is day five. I want to announce it to the world, or just to our five readers, that I do not identify as a smoker. I will not be held hostage by bad habits.

Your sister,