Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

Today for lunch we had Daxin, which I feel fairly safe in saying is a volunteer favorite. It was definitely a favorite of mine during training. It is also "poor people" food according to my hilariously elitist family. Daxin is mashed up peanuts mixed with rice, some mystery protein (beans if you're lucky, fish is you're not, or meat) and potentiality a vegetable. During training it was the best meal we had so when I came to my house in Thies I proclaimed my love for Daxin - terrible decision. Daxin for not "poor people" means Daxin with a standing pool of oil on top. No joke. The amount of oil a family can use is a sign of wealth and my family really poured it on today. Just looking at the pool of oil on top of lunch made me want to run away and as I forced down the bites my family lamented the fact that I don't like Daxin, I only like ceebu jenn. I attempted to explain that we don't use a lot of oil (or at least like this) in the US, but that was a no go and they just told me that I'm a rich American therefore I use a TON of oil in my cooking as well. I left the bowl as soon as possible and fled the house in case my mom tried to make Jeenaba or Deenba made me eggs.

Upon my return, all of the women were sitting on a bench in the courtyard and on my porch. I sat next to Deenba who was making "mashed potatoes." I've been thinking about making mashed potatoes for my family since it should be something they should like although I'm sure that they wouldn't because they hate everything I make. She told me that she was making mashed potatoes before I actually saw what she was doing so I started to say how much I like mashed potatoes - you would really think I would learn. Mashed potatoes to my family means potatoes pureed (Deenba literally mashed the potatoes into a puree for over an hour) with condensed milk, butter, and pepper. While my mom was making up the dinner plate, I noticed that all of the potatoes went on to my plate that I share with my dad and big Ahmed. I protested saying that Deenba worked so hard. This was in vain because my mom stood over me like a hawk, since she thought I didn't eat enough lunch, to make sure that I ate the potatoes as I tried to take as small of bites as possible so other people could enjoy the delicacy/ I would immediately die of a heart attack due to the fat/ calorie content of the mashed potatoes. My dad liked the plate clean of potatoes and my heart broke for Deenba who watched from the kitchen.

Questions and Answers:

Kaitlyn and Lindsay asked: There are a lot of goats in Senegal; are they just used for meat or is there delicious goat cheese?
- There are a lot of goats, but unfortunately, dairy isn't a big thing here because there's a lack of refrigerator. My family is in the minority owning a fridge. Most dairy that's eaten here is in the form of an unpasteurized yogurt that is sweetened with sugar and potentially condensed milk. It's what I have every Sunday night for dinner. I don't like it very much, but that's mostly because of the sugar/ sweetness than the unpasteurized component of it. Cheese is difficult to find here. I can buy cheese in the Toubab grocery stores in Thies and you can definitely get it in Dakar and other major cities, but not out in the villages, again lack of refrigeration. However, as I've mentioned before my friend Jackie lives near a town which has a Catholic monestary and they make GOAT CHEESE. And it's beyond delicious. The last time I was at Jackie's site I almost made myself ill by goat cheese intake. I can also order a salad that has goat cheese on it at the nicest restaurant in Thies, but that's only on special occasions because it's expensive.

Are cabs expensive?
- Cabs differ depending on where you are. In Dakar, cabs make me suicidal because the first price they quote is a "Toubab" price that sends me through the roof and I usually have to barter, beg, and the concede to paying a ridiculous price. In Thies, within the main area of the city there is a flat rate which is really nice because then I don't have to barter/ lose my mind. I don't take cabs very often in Thies because I don't want people to think that I have a lot of money (even though they already do) and because I eat pounds of greasy rice every day so I need to walk my ass off (literally). I usually only take cabs when I'm picking up packages from the post office, going to the lycee technique (because it's outside of Thies and really far away from my house), or I'm feeling unusually lazy and it's really hot.


All of these people rocked my world today.
- Thank you Mom & Dad for the package!
- Thank you Shirley for the card!
- Thank you Matt for the amazing letter!
- Massive, GIGANTIC, SHOUT OUT to Lindsay! Thank you so much for the package. I can't believe it got here in only 6 days! It totally made my day and was even more amazing because it was unexpected! All of the treats and everything else you sent were just what I needed and were really a pick me up! I can't thank you enough. You rock.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to know the package arrived in a timely fashion. I honestly think they see those flat rate boxes and know they are for you! No more month long waits for chips and salsa !!! OLE!!!