11 August 2014

This Is Peanut Butter Country

Peanuts are a staple food in West Africa, where they are called groundnuts. Many regions have a groundnut stew to serve up with vegetables and a starch. Here in Bamako the local peanut butter, or pate d'arachide, is sold in buckets in the supermarkets. It's used for making a gravy for meats. In our house it's been made into banana bread and banana muffins, peanut butter cookies (which our housekeeper loved!), and peanut sauce for veggies and tofu.

Cashews are inexpensive here, unlike most of the rest of the world. They are a popular crop in West Africa because the climate is good for growing them and worldwide demand makes them profitable.  Their tasty availability has me anxiously awaiting the arrival of my food processor for cashew cream "cheese," cashew butter, and cashew milk.

I went for my first run in Bamako on Sunday, a short run to familiarize myself with our neighborhood. Right now is the perfect time of year for running outside -- relatively cool and cloudy. Early in the morning there were few cars on the road; on Sunday mornings traffic doesn't pick up until about 10:30. A few children said, "Bonjour!" and one man said, "Courage!" when I ran by, which is what Burundians sometimes yell to runners, also. I feel like I can get a lot of good miles in this town over the next couple years. I'm glad I brought trail runners, even for running on the road. Main roads are paved but the sidewalk, when there is one, is a dirt path that's often covered in rocks and debris. Looking at the photo, I can't remember now if that's a hard-packed dirt road or a paved road that has a layer of dirt on top of it. The red dirt coats everything.

Muffin goes back to school in one week which means I go back to regular running. (I am invoking all the patience and endurance I have learned through yoga and long-distance running to make it through this last week.) And that means we need a lot of food in the freezer for quick meals and snacks. We spent the weekend baking muffins and cookies. We tried our new tortilla press for the first time. We got Indian take-out for the third time in three weeks, just to test it one more time and make sure the leftovers are still delicious. This week will be a busy one for making tortillas, buckwheat crepes, Chebe bread, and more muffins, all for the freezer, and finding the best loaf of local bread for Muffin's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to hold her over until my bread maker arrives. The shipment with my blender will hopefully arrive this week and I plan on sending my housekeeper out in search of the last mangoes of the season for the freezer, for mango smoothies. Our other food project this week is to seek out the good meat supplier and place an order. We haven't been thrilled with the meat we've been getting from butchers and super-march├ęs so far.

Happy running and eating this week!


Beth said...

Bucket of peanut butter = heaven!! My mom used to buy it in the bucket when I was a kid, I used to loose my spoon in it! Thanks for the memory and glad you are adjusting and adapting!

Nicole said...

Glad you got out for a run.

Peanut butter is such a favorite of mine. Your cookies looked delicious.

Nicole said...

Glad you got our for a run and it was good!

Your cookies look delicious.