Every Tuesday, I pick up over a kilo of spinach from my CSA. Today is Sunday, and I have the week before last’s, this past week’s, and OMG MORE SPINACH IS COMING ON TUESDAY. To give you some perspective on the photo below, each tile on the counter is 30cm x 30cm. That’s a lot… Read More Spinach Frittata
Earlier this week, Bertrand and I went to the fish market here in Cotonou. It was an adventure, but we ended up with three beautiful mahi mahis that I later cooked to perfection. But this post isn’t about mahi mahi. It’s about butter. Beautiful, unsalted, absolutely fattening butter.
Last week, I decided that I absolutely needed a hunk of fresh tuna. Never mind that I had no idea how to go about buying tuna. I had to have it. In Cotonou, salt water fish are bought fresh off the boat at the Port of Cotonou. Chaos reigns as fishermen and fish mongers negotiate prices… Read More Shopping for deep sea fish in Cotonou
We’re getting to the “rains twice a day” part of the season. Soon it will be “rains all day every day”. And then, “doesn’t stop raining for a week straight”. And then finally, the light at the end of the tunnel. A brief one month stretch with scant rains and lots of sunshine. August, you… Read More Oh, the rainy season in Cotonou
This past weekend, PINK BENIN went up north to Parakou. We’ve been struggling to get out of Cotonou, and more importantly, get the message out to more women in order to a) start tracking breast cancer cases throughout the country and b) create a force strong enough to pressure the Beninese government into making cancer… Read More Pink partners with community radios to get the word out about breast cancer
Allada is famous for its escargot (snails). Every well to do traveler stops there on their way up North. Only an hour outside of Cotonou, it’s an ideal place to buy food for the rest of the trip. Or, if you’re Jean Marc, Helene, Bertrand, and myself, an ideal place to waste an hour drinking… Read More I like snails. Eating them, that is.
Ah, cheese. The one thing every expat in West Africa misses. Luckily, Benin has a local cheese that’s excellent, both as a cheese, fried, and as a tofu subsitute. Known commonly as wagasi, from Dendi, it goes by many names: amo in Fon, wara in Nagot, and gasaru in Bariba. The French simply call it… Read More Cutting the cheese in Benin
Yesterday’s CSA came with a couple kilos of zucchinis. I hadn’t even finished last week’s batch, and started panicking about how I was going to use up all these zucchinis. Yes, it’s true, my CSA has become a source of stress in my life as I struggle to use up all of the vegetables each… Read More Zucchini Pancakes
We’ve had a lot of visitors lately, new to Benin and/or to Africa, who are afraid of food poisoning. I’m going to be really honest here: if you leave Cotonou, have any middle class Beninese friends, eat street food, or do anything but eat at ritzy expat restaurants and prepare your own (vegetarian) food, you’re… Read More On how to rock eating food you’re afraid of
After a long weeks of not having enough time to breathe, much less sleep, Bertrand and I are more or less settling back into routine. In the intervening weeks, things have changed a bit in the Carpenter-Sondjo household: We have a freezer. We have a cat. I own a pair of sneakers. The rainy season… Read More On working for The Man and other minutia