My riding instructor invited me hunting when I was 15 years old. The thought of riding through France’s foggy woods seemed romantic, adventurous, and disarmingly elite. I desperately wanted to say yes, but I had a squeamish feeling I just couldn’t shake. Bottom line? I didn’t want to kill my dinner and I didn’t want to watch other people kill their dinner. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. I was surrounded by supermarkets, cafes, street vendors, and – just down from our house – carrot and mushroom farms. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I said no. The closest I ever got to hunting was to pluck a carrot from the farm. Illegally. It was the biggest carrot I’d ever seen but, thanks to a lack of running water and guilt, it tasted like dirt.
In Equatorial Guinea, killing dinner is not always a choice. The rural people are known for hunting and fishing for their dinners because this is the cheapest and most available way to eat. Whole fish [Recipe], crustaceans, and various small animals are sold at the market – piled on little more than cardboard lined tables. The smile on this boy’s face says it all… “This is my normal.”
Game is typically grilled, stewed, or fried and served with porridges – either gari (made from cassava flour) 0r thick millet porridge [Recipe]. Filling and affordable, porridge is also served for breakfast.
As far as vegetables go, they eat all manner of dark greens – anything from spinach, and kale, to more exotic fare, like sweet potato and cassava leaves. Okra is grown and enjoyed stewed with hot peppers and curry [Recipe]. Peanut sauces reign supreme, as in most of west and central Africa.
If you have a sweet tooth, go for a piece of fresh fruit. You’ll be right in line with the people of Equatorial Guinea.
Photos: Kaloyan, CIA World Factbook, BioKo, Shoshana Sommer, Podknox.
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