• Brooke Schnieder

How A Safari Is Like Cooking Gluten Free

Gluten and Dairy Free Tanzanian Adventures: Part 2

This morning we woke up early, packed our bags, ate a delicious gluten and dairy free breakfast at Maramboi Tented Lodge, and headed to Tarangire National Park on safari.

My expectations were set to see elephants, giraffes and other African wildlife that popped in to say hello. What I didn’t expect was the amazing wonder, awe and peace that would overwhelm my heart and mind as we experienced these animals in their natural habitat.

We drove into the park, stopping by the bathrooms and to pop the roof of the Land Cruiser up so we could stand up and see everything without a window. This small thing made the biggest difference. In zoos we can see animals, but always through a fence or glass. But here on Safari we are joining the animals in their home, experiencing their true everyday life.

We first saw a herd of zebra grazing gracefully, their stripes seemingly intertwining. The land cruiser moved on slowly through the park as we eyed each animal, asking our guide to stop so we could gaze and take pictures. The bright colors, tufts of hair and beautiful skin and fur was outstanding. Each animal was so healthy, so at home, in their natural habitat.

We drove through the umbrellas of leaves, searching the landscape for graceful long necks, striped flanks and hopefully full manes of golden fur. As we stopped and admired each one I was simultaneously filled with excitement, curiosity, peace, wonder and joy. The driver’s keen eye spied a monitor lizard and we stopped for a long time as he slowly lumbered towards our vehicle. Each step closer revealing more of the intricate coloring and the interesting movements of his tongue and body. Time seemed to slow down as we simply watched his plodding gait, not worrying about the to do lists, the appointments, the stress of life. We simply enjoyed the admiring the movement, the beauty of creation, doing what it’s made to do.

As we watched these amazing animals in their own habitats, it reminded me the importance of and simply being present, enjoying the details of life; the warmth of a drinking a cup of tea, truly listening to a long story from a child or friend, savoring the delicious bites of food-it’s tastes and textures, reveling in the comfort of holding a loved one.

Through the peace of these beautiful animals I am reminded to make peace in my life through care and time. Cooking is my joy, and can bring me this peace when I do it with love and intention. When I cook for others and teach others to cook it brings me the same excitement, curiosity, peace, wonder and joy that seeing the amazing animals of Africa brought.

I want to share this wonder, peace and love of cooking gluten and dairy free with kids and teens. I long for each one to experience the same full heart as they create food with love.

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