All posts filed under: Sierra Leone


Monday Meal Review: Sierra Leone

Hi Friends! This week we’re trying something new with our weekly video, combining Ava’s Corner with a brief review from me. I’m a little camera shy, so I thought I’d do something a little silly, like sit in a green chair, in my kitchen. Just because. Special thanks to my dear husband, Keith (a.k.a. Mr. Picky), for editing our video, as always. I’d love to hear what you think of this new format in the comments. Enjoy: xo Sasha & family THE FOOD Okra & Eggplant Stew [Recipe] What I liked most about this dish: While the slick, slippery okra tested me, Mr. Picky and Ava weren’t even phased. In fact, they loved it (they didn’t even know it was in there, actually), which probably had as much to do with the fact that I didn’t make a big fuss (or any fuss, really) about the dish. I simply put it on the table, matter-of-factly. For Ava, the trick was to give her a piece of the meat ahead of time to nibble, with just a …

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West African Peanut Bites | Kanya

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this Adventure, it’s that my family’s unfaltering love of peanuts inexorably links us to the fine people of West Africa, where this little legume is  enjoyed in both savory and sweet concoctions. Peanut soups and cookies are both fair game, but today we explore Kanya, an altogether new delight. Kanya are naturally gluten free and beyond simple, made with just three ingredients: peanuts, sugar, and toasted rice flour. That’s it! Kanya remind me of fudge, but with a drier, slightly crunchy texture thanks to the toasted rice flour. There’s just one catch (there always is, isn’t there?)… If you want to make Kanya the old fashioned way, you’re going to need arms of steel to push, and punch, and grind the mixture until it is so pulverized that it begins to stick together. Women in Sierra Leone (and beyond) know this art well and can be found patiently pounding grains and peanuts in the dappled sunlight, laughing and talking all the while. When I read about Kanya, I …

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Okra Stew with Beef & Eggplant

“WE YU YεRI PIKIN SE “MAMA DE KUK כKRכ”, PAPA BIN DכN TכK AM. If you hear a child say “Mama is cooking okra,” it’s because Papa said it.”*  When I read this old proverb from Sierra Leone, I get goosebumps. The truth is, children pick up everything from their parents, from what’s for dinner to more serious considerations, like world views, either loaded with prejudice or full of grace. While sipping soup or nibbling rolls, they overhear snippets of conversation; verbal jabs and eye-rolls are noted. And nowhere is this more noticed, than at the dinner table. In fact, I’d like to suggest that this is one and the same: what’s for dinner reflects, in a very serious way, our world views. At every meal, our kids get a double whammy as they witness the foods we eat and refuse to eat. They notice when we squirm and mock our way through other people’s “normal.” Friends, we have the power to shape our children’s very thoughts, yet we so often forget that the main way …

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Menu: Sierra Leone (& Giveaway)

Next time you see someone doing or experiencing something especially grand (or perhaps even showing off a bit), say with wide eyes: “The salt has climbed the hill.” It’s the way people in Sierra Leone express amazement over something they weren’t quite expecting. Like how we had two days in the 70’s in January. Totally unexpected. Or when I found out I’d secured a book deal with National Geographic. The salt and the pepper both climbed the hill on that one. As for this menu? She’s plain and simple, but full of rich, comforting flavors, perfect for hot or cold weather, so no need to watch the radar. The recipes and meal review will be posted throughout the week. Beef, Okra & Eggplant Stew [Recipe] Bits of unctious beef in a thick, veggie-loaded sauce, bragging an entire eggplant, okra, tomatoes, and onion. Perfect ladled over a bowl of rice. West African Peanut Bites | Kanya [Recipe] Just three ingredients make up these peanut bites: peanuts, sugar, and rice flour. The perfect Valentine’s Gift for the vegan, gluten-free …

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Woman and child in Mile 91, Sierra Leone. Photo by Annabel Symington.

About the food of Sierra Leone

I recently watched a video from the BBC about Sierra Leone in preparation for today, which asks the question “Is the Global Media too negative about Africa“? Great question. I have my answer, and if you’ve been around this blog for more than five minutes, you can probably guess what it is. My mission is to build up the positive stories, for every country, no matter what. Please note, you should not ignore the negative. We need to be aware. To do our part. This is vital. But you’ll just have to seek out those stories somewhere else. Hopefully, one day, balance will be restored so that all people can be seen with the dignity they deserve. That’s called love. And, with that, let’s begin. On the curve of West Africa lives Sierra Leone, a country whose capital, Freetown, clamors right up to the water’s edge. Freetown is a symbol of hope, a place whose population is made up of both African tribes and freed slaves (called Creoles). As you wander the crowded streets, you’ll …

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