About the food of Togo

Local house in the Taberma Valley in Togo. The whole area is deignated a UNESCO Heritage Site. Photo by Erik Kristensen.

Local house in the Taberma Valley in Togo. The whole area is deignated a UNESCO Heritage Site. Photo by Erik Kristensen.

There’s an old Togolese proverb which says “Do not  roast all your corn in the winter.”  The proverb sums up Togo nicely. While the words point to importance placed on resourcefulness in this small, west African country, it also points to something much more obvious. The Togolese love their corn. As with most proverbs, they draw from the popular culture from whence they originate.

Village of Lassa, Togo. Photo by Grete Howard.

Village of Lassa, Togo. Photo by Grete Howard.

This skinny strip of a country in western Africa really does love their corn, especially cornmeal. Cornmeal cakes called Djenkoume are a popular staple, as is fufu (stiff cornmeal porridge, although sometimes it is made with yam). Either might be served with chicken [like Grilled Togo Chicken], goat, or wild game.

What does a Togolese person do when they tire of cornmeal? Eat cassava.  It can be savory, on the side of goat stew, or an after dinner treat, served as a soft, sweet porridge.

Harbour in Togoville, Togo. Photo by Alexandra Pugachevsky.

Harbour in Togoville, Togo. Photo by Alexandra Pugachevsky.

From the dry savannas and tropical coast, this land also loves their peanuts. In fact, groundnut stew [Recipe] (an old favorite from our Ghanaian Global Table), makes frequent appearances in Togo.

Just about any meal goes with a happy helping of fried plantains [Recipe], something we’ve run into all over Africa and South America.

Sounds great to me!

Togo-maps-and-flag

Maps and flag of Togo, courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

P.S. Can we stop for a minute and admire that house in the first picture? How much would you love to spend a few nights there?

Here’s another angle to entice you…

 

Taberma House in Togo. Photo by Erik Kristensen.

Taberma House in Togo. Photo by Erik Kristensen.

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Comments

  1. That house is very intriguing!! Togo is a fascinating little country, and it’s one of the ones that I still have coming up. I really appreciate the info and I can’t wait to see your menu!

  2. aunty eileen says:

    very interesting house design… every bit of it well thought out. Would love to know exactly all the ‘thinking’ of the design. Can only imagine what the inside looks like…. but, because it looks as if there would be not much light and there are no windows…. No thank you for staying even for one night :-) But, the people seem lovely and would love to visit with them in their beautiful little country.

    • aunty eileen says:

      oh, and I love corn too – very very much. But, haven’t bought any this year because of all the talk about gmo’s… so sad :(

      • Sasha Martin says:

        I bet the lack of windows keeps the house very cool, though… natural air conditioning… like a cave.

        • aunty eileen says:

          oh yes Sasha… that would make sense. Maybe mostly used for sleeping and resting and just being out of the heat….? But still, I would need windows with glass and blinds that can be adjusted. :-)

  3. Brian S. says:

    Well guess what. I DID spend a few nights in that house!!!!! Or in a similar house, in the tiny rugged region of north Togo where the Tamberma people live. I walked five hours east from a town named Kande and found a Tamberma village. I hung out with the men and watched them build magic fetishes. Much of the life was governed by magic and tradition. “Sign, myth and symbol have a life of their own,” I later wrote.

    • Brian S. says:

      You can see the magic fetishes in the first picture. They are the 3 foot high conical clay mounds. By the way the Tamberma are far more “primitive” than the rest of Togo’s people.

      • aunty eileen says:

        ok, after reading your words Brian… I don’t think their ‘magic and traditions’ would be something that would interest me….

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Fascinating Brian. You really have been almost everywhere!

  4. the archetecture is very frank lloyd wright OR even better – rudolf steiner, and it also makes me think of the Guggenheim (sp?) Museum for some reason…LOVE IT

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