Saturday, July 10, 2010

Incredible Edibles

On the island of Ngor, lunch begins like this. On this particular Sunday (7-11-10), the Fulbright group was treated to a day on the beach. The island is very small. One could walk around it easily in about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how often she stops to enjoy the view. One spectacle on the island is the fishing boats trolling in and out of the surf. The fishermen were kind enough to let me take a picture of the catch here. Some were spear fishing, others using boats and fishing lines; not rods and reels, but lines. The rebel fishermen were on the other side of the island fishing off the rocks. Does anyone know what kind of fish these are? This fish did not come from the catch in the photo at the top of this post, but it certainly looks more ready to eat Suzanne than the other way around. In the end, however, Suzanne reigned supreme as she made her way through le poisson.
Amy, Elana, Samba, and Ousmane wait for dinner at a wonderful restaurant. I'm not sure what culture one would consider that this meal originated from, although I detected curry, if that helps. This restaurant looks out over the ocean, and the breeze that night was cool and invigorating. See the dish below.
The bar at the Ethiopian Restaurant. Note that the bar and stool are covered with soda labels Waiting for our Ethiopian food.

Can't eat another bite, but it was fantastic. Still the Ethiopian restaurant. Bill, Yumi, Steadman, Elana, and Jan.
When you eat with your hands, you REALLY need to wash up afterward.
At WARC, the cooks start lunch early in the morning. We have learned to check in on them in the detached kitchen to see what's on the menu. This day, it is Cheebu Jen, a Creole dish that's a favorite here. Because we have been so heartily welcomed, our various hosts have treated us to this regional favorite several times since we've been here.
Laurie talks to one of our cooks to find out some secrets of the recipe. I'm so thankful that Laurie speaks French. She has been extremely helpful as I've floundered with the little French I remember from high school. If any of my students are reading this, I want you to know that I regret cutting French class now. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn't have thought that my need for French would come during my visit to Africa. Hey students! All of your classes are important. You never know when you'll need to use a skill that you learned, or should have learned in school.

Lots of root vegetables are used in dishes here. Let's see... Looks like we have carrots, turnips, egg plant, and cabbage. (I was told the white roots are turnips. Is that true?)

Peppers for the Cheebu Jen

Chopping onions in the kitchen. These ladies were very nice about letting us invade their work space.

Snapper and garlic wait their turn to be included in the lunch preparation.
At this restaurant, we ate pizza. There were a multitude of specialty pizzas to choose from, and they were cooked in a wood-burning behive-type oven. The power went out a couple of times while we were there, so it's a good thing we had the light from the fire. This was a night that the mosquitoes came out to eat as well. Check out Teresa's pizza below.
John celebrated his something-ieth birthday here in Africa.

Samba said I should eat the mango with my hands. Again, I have a feeling he may have been playing a joke on me. He loves a laugh.
Me and Samba Gadjigo. This professor has a great sense of humor. His Holyoke College students must love his classes.
At the Village des Artistes, mangos cook under the leaves and in the stones.
Anyone can find instant Nescafe on the street without difficulty.
Photo taken from the bus. The mangos are especially sweet right now. If you come to Senegal, Laay says you must ask for Kent mangos.
More fruit
The best couscous is made with millet, not broken rice. This picture was taken as I followed Jan into the kitchen of a highly regarded artist, who showed us his work and spoke of his inspiration. For those of you who would like to Google him, his name is Souley Mane Keita. I'll tell you more about him in a future post. This post is all about food. He laughed that Jan wanted to see his kitchen. She teaches home economics and is officially experiencing Africa through its food, while I am unofficially experiencing Africa through food.
This soda stand was on Goree Island. Sodas we are familiar with can be found most places.
The Goree Island restaurant we ate lunch at today (7-10-10) is called Doree Dolce Vita. Dan, you have to see the salad below! Wow, wow (Wolof for YES!). The flies were thick, so employees of the restaurant and our gracious and talented Mariane fanned them away until everyone had been served.

Corosso is made from prickly pear juice. It's sweet and creamy. I approve.
Presentation is key and well done here.
If Samba was playing a joke on me about how to eat the mango when it's cut like this, then I have done the same, because I had everyone else at the table eating these without utensils. Samba wasn't with us at this meal. No one could tell them any differently. Locals and restaurant employees did not laugh, so perhaps we were eating it correctly. :)


  1. Thank you for showing us all that food. Food and how it is eaten is a clear window into a country's culture!

  2. I tried to post a comment earlier about this - but couldn't - hopefully I'll be able to now! I agree with Barry - food does teach us a lot about the culture. Jim (my husband) grew up with Syrian food - and much of that is eaten by hand, or by using Syrian bread (flat bread) as a "scoop" - we have subsequently taught that to our children ... when they were small they loved eating with their hands!

  3. i am enush from india. i am going to visit dakar for 1 month. what points should i keep in notice about people, food, culture, weather.

    i am going in december complete month.

    please tell me.

    my email is:

  4. Enush, This blog had gone dormant for a very long time. I regret that I didn't see your comment until now. I trust that your visit to Dakar was life changing and that you were able to negotiate the nuances of life there. I, too, was there for one month. Each week I gained new skills that helped me become more and more independent. By the third week I realized that I must have learned the pulse of the city, at least the pulse of the places I frequented and the people I saw regularly.

    I'd be very interested in hearing what you discovered and what advice you would give now regarding people, food, culture, and weather.