Recipe: Chicken Yassa

Mothers and children gather under the cool shadow of the tree (Kanel, Sénégal). Photo by Giel F.

In Senegal's villages, which dot lazily between scrubby fields, life is slower. People gather barefoot on stoops, pounding millet or boiling rice. Talk and dance reverberate in rhythm with hide-covered drums, around outdoor fires, as though there were nothing more to do with the day than to live. There's a popular proverb: Yarude seesa haɗtaa yettaade* or Going slowly does not prevent you from arriving. The words make me wince a little. Even with this Adventure I'm often in a hurry, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Senegal’s PB & Peanut Sugar Cookies | Cinq Centimes

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In French, Cinq Centimes means Five Cents. Don't be fooled by the name. This isn't the sort of recipe that must be studied like a terrible, paragraph-long math problem. This is not a prerequisite to calculus, or even rocket science. This is a snippet - a slice of a dream from Senegalese street vendors. A one-two-three treat worthy of any snack time. No more. No less. Every step is ridiculously easy.  The hardest part will be keeping your sweet, adoring Mr. Picky from sniffing the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Senegal’s Black-eyed Pea Salad | Saladu Ñebbe

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This New Year, I'm making room for sunlight to lay across the floor. No more discarded shoes to trip over. No more stacks of books or useless tchotchkes. Senegal inspired me. I saw photo after photo of her beautiful waters... vast expanses where sunlight runs free, unhampered by clutter. Less stuff in general, with more of the right stuff - friendship, laughter, love. This is how I want my home and my life to be.  I want to eat fresh and right. I want sunlight in my … [Read more...]

Menu: Senegal (& Giveaway)

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Those of you who have read this blog before know my refrain "We create peace when we learn about each other, when we understand one another." To be clear, learning is not the same as understanding, but to understand we must learn. And we can do this through food. And so here we are. Well, today I found a very similar saying from Senegal: "In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we are taught." The beauty of … [Read more...]

About the food of Senegal

Maps and Flag of Senegal courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

Today's daydream takes us to Senegal... a land of alluring contrast. One, long finger of Senegal fades into the Atlantic ocean, the westernmost point of Africa. As you wander inland, past the subtropical streets paved with the catch of the day, still fresh from the ocean, you will see as many collard shirts and slacks as you do bright tunics and robes. Three quarters of the population lives in cities on the coast. Once past the bustle (where buses noisily bump past rickety carts), the … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Saudi Arabia

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"If I am a prince and you are a prince, then who will lead the donkeys?" - Saudi Proverb We sat in the middle of the tight, woolen rug, cross legged, our toes bumping the edge of the soft cotton table cloth. Without a table to drape upon, the cloth looked like a slack sail, hungry for the wind. Sunlight streamed through the windows, massaging our backs. It felt good. If I shut my eyes, the windy, freezing day that clattered against our window almost disappeared. In fact, if it weren't … [Read more...]

Recipe: Saudi Lamb “Pizza” | Aysh abu Laham

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In Saudi Arabia, there's an old saying "A friend is known when needed." In other words, when you need help, true friends show up. They might ask "Can I do anything?", but more than likely they'll simply roll up their sleeves and get to work. Because the answer is clear, yes, you need them. A true friend quietly brings over a covered casserole after you've given birth to your first child. They take your child to the park so you can sleep off a fever. They silence their phone and hold your … [Read more...]

Recipe: Sweet Semolina Cake with Lemon & Rosewater | Basboosa

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Love's every whimsy can be found in the tender, fragile curve of a rose. Arab cooks must know this in their hearts, as they imbue many of their desserts with the essence of this great flower. Rose water is made from hundreds (thousands!) of rose petals and I'm convinced there is magic in every drop. Today's cake, called Basboosa, is heavy with such magic. This incredibly moist cake is conjured up with durum semolina, then soaked in a pool of syrup made with sweetened rose water and fresh … [Read more...]