…I told you this would be an interesting one.
As some of you may know and as I’ve stated previously on this blog I can be a VERY picky eater, one of my biggest concerns when all was set for this trip was the food I’d be eating. Before leaving we had to fill out a form to state dietary restrictions and I decided to be BOLD and not mention my dislike for spicy food or for seafood… what an idea that was. Although the food was difficult for me to get accustomed to I always made sure to eat everything, I really wanted to experience the culture so I never told my host family there was something I didn’t like…I just ate it.
Lets start off by saying that just about every meal I had was either spicy or contained fish, sometimes both. Honestly, the fish (even with a head on it) was easier for me to eat than the spicy food (I couldn’t bring myself to ever eat the head). I would love to tell you the name of the meals I had but in reality (a lot) more than half the time I had no idea what I was eating, i just ate it.
Every morning starts out with bread and chocopain or butter, I must say after having it every day it was a bit tiring but I loved that chocopain! I wish I had the chance to buy some to bring with me to the US, interestingly enough I don’t like too much chocolate and I don’t like peanuts but I loved this chocopain.
Lunch was often the best meal in my house and the meal that was shared by all. Most Senegalese families come together to eat out of one big bowl (the silver bowls found in two of these pictures). In the village people sit around the bowl and eat with their right hand. In other parts of Senegal (and most of what I encountered) everyone is provided a spoon to eat with out of the big bowl. You have a triangle of the plate designated for yourself and the oldest woman divides the meat in the center amongst those eating; it is rude to go outside of your triangle while eating. If you walk by in the middle of people having a meal they will insist on you going to eat and you will probably have to refuse several times to be excused.
Dinner I would usually eat alone and would vary in all kinds of ways. I couldn’t photograph every meal because I didn’t like taking my phone to the table but there were some I just had to. I had fish well over 5 times in Senegal and 3 of those times it had a head, it was difficult for me to eat but I just tried to ignore the head being there and the fish didn’t taste as bad as I thought.
Things to note:
1. Every meal contains rice, fries, onions or bread, sometimes even all 4.
2. Chicken is more expensive in Senegal so it isn’t eaten often.
3. Always eat with your right hand because in Senegal they use their left hand to wipe/wash (they don’t have toilet paper in homes) so it’s seen as disrespectful to use your left.
4. Food is almost always spicy and they have spicy sauce you can always put on top if you want more.
5. Yassa (3rd & 4th picture) is a popular spicy sauce they usually put on rice that’s main ingredient is onions (did I mention I don’t like eating those either).