Where to Go to Get What You Want

The United States has its regional flavors: maple syrup from Vermont, cheese from Wisconsin, bourbon from Kentucky, tobacco from North Carolina, peaches from Georgia, apples from Washington, wine from California. But because the country is so vast it’s unrealistic for Americans to peruse the regional aisles to buy stocks from every state. Those Americans finicky about the provenance of their food spend the money to pay retailers to bring it to them.

Uganda is exponentially smaller, about the size of a midwestern rectangle, but it too encompasses a remarkable ecological diversity, the reason that it is one of the few countries in the world where over a thousand species of birds can be seen or, more likely, heard. The variety of climates and environments affords not only a multiplicity of birdlife but also a range of regional foods.

Many families in Uganda have mobile constituents regularly crisscrossing the relatively small country, and they are acutely aware of the bargains to be got buying food where it’s raised. A traveller to any corner of the country returns home with a bulk quantity of the local staple, making Uganda a giant supermarket where shoppers fill cars instead of carts. The country map is the grocery floorplan; the regions are the numbered aisles.

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