Monday Meal Review: The Gambia


THE SCENE I scrunched up my face, trying to remember. We were standing at the farmer's market on opening day, people milling about us like ants, everyone grabbing at the last of the produce before the farmers packed their bags. Alexandra tucked 2 giant bunches of shiny green onions behind her stroller - only $3.00 at closing time. I'd paid $2.00 for 1 bunch an hour earlier. "Oh, yes - I can't believe I forgot!" I said to Alexandra, "The dessert is going to be hot mangoes in … [Read more...]

Recipe: West African Spinach with Groundnuts (Peanut Butter)


Serves 4 I'm not sure why this idea seemed so strange to me. West Africans love greens with peanut butter (they call them groundnuts), and I should have never doubted them. The earthy peanuts stand up to the mighty bitter spinach. It balances out nicely with the sweet peppers, but spicy would work wonderfully as well. If you can pick up the spinach and onions from your farmer's market, I highly recommend it. The fresh flavors will crunch and zip and smile inside your … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lover’s Lemon Ginger Tea (Gingembre)


Makes about 3 cups concentrated juice Want to fall in love vigorously? Ease a nasty stomach bug immediately? Wake up cheerfully? Drink a giant glass of spicy, cold lemon ginger tea. It's like a big punch in the face, but in a good way. This drink is so strong, you'll do the post-whiskey-shot shudder. Our recipe is a concentrated blend - be sure to water it down to taste. Special tip for the flu season - add a splash of hot water to dilute for a great, cleansing drink. Perfect if your … [Read more...]

Eat a baguette like a west African


I know it's springtime and I'm supposed to be nibbling lettuce, trying on my bathing suit five times a day, and sipping nothing but water. Life doesn't always work out like that. Last night, for example, I was in huddled in the closet with Miss Ava. That's right - my noisy almost-two-year-old and I were waiting out two rounds of tornado sirens. It was chaos. Fearing for my life makes me crave comfort food. If you are surviving on lettuce and water, please forgive me for this post. You … [Read more...]

Recipe: Mango and Ginger Cream Parfaits


Serves 8 (really this depends on the size of your mangoes) What would you make if you had milk and ginger root, but no refrigeration? What if you had mangoes but no ice cream machine or blender? You'd use up that milk as fast as possible - whip it up into a ginger custard and toss it with stewed mangoes! This is a high class treat in The Gambia, where real milk is far less common than imported powdered milk. As for the parfait glasses? Totally a Sasha-spin. Feel free to just dollop … [Read more...]

Menu: The Gambia


Can anyone look at these babies and not smile? I mean, really. I love, love, love the joy pouring out of their faces. This picture could be used to replace depression medicine. And I just know it can help you do your taxes. That's right. For anyone in the USA who has yet to file their taxes, take a moment to look at these babies, absorb the joy and peace. You'll be calmer, nicer, and your brain won't feel as much like scrambled jelly over the next 72 hours. That has to count for something. Our … [Read more...]

About the food of The Gambia


This week we're cooking The Gambia. Not Gambia. The Gambia. I like that. It has presence. Has power. Did you know Facebook was originally The Facebook? It's true. I saw it in the movie "Social Network." Edited to add: It's THE Social Network. I sort of love that I made this error while writing about THE Gambia. So, back to The Gambia. Despite her grandiose name, this country is teeny tiny - the smallest country in Africa - 30 miles wide at it's widest. She looks rather like a wiggly … [Read more...]