Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

The Acid Bug

My blog will now join the short list of results that pop up when you search for "nairobi fly, acid bug" on Google. Mike was hit by one over the weekend.
The Nairobi fly is a small beetle that does not bite or sting, but based on its nickname acid bug, guess what it does? The insides of the bug are toxic, and if you smack it against your skin the juices cause a burning rash. They are common throughout East and Central Africa, and it's the season for them here in Burundi. We think Mike and his friend rode through a swarm of them on their bikes over the weekend, because his friend has some burn spots, too, and the spots appeared on both of them after they returned from the ride.
We've heard of two remedies to soothe the burning, but Mike hasn't tried either yet. One is to use toothpaste, the old-school white kind, and the other is to cut a potato and rub it on the burn area. Both the toothpaste and the potato are supposed to draw out the acid. If you wash the area imm…

What Goes Through My Head When I Lock My Door

When I'm alone in our apartment, or alone with Muffin, I lock the deadbolt, day and night. Here is my thought process:

I'm walking down the hallway toward my door. I nod "Hello" in a neighborly way to a man also walking down the hall. I enter my apartment (having had my key ready since I first got into the elevator because women are conditioned from an early age not to be fumbling for their keys in an area where the distraction of doing so might make them vulnerable to an attack) and close the door. I put my hand on the deadbolt but I don't turn it right away.

What if the guy who just walked by thinks I'm locking it because I'm afraid of him? 

It's not about him specifically, though, it's about being a woman alone in an apartment building. 

So what if he's offended? 

It's none of his business if I lock my door or not, unless he was planning to enter the apartment, in which case fuck him, I did the right thing by locking the door.

I'm a nar…

Book Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

After you've read something, please consider leaving a line or two on Goodreads and Amazon. The authors appreciate it!

Here's my review as it appears on Goodreads.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book in the beginning. I grew up in an old haunted house in New England, yet I'm always a skeptic. (99% of supernatural activity ends up being the wind or a cat — and cats are creepy as hell.) I liked reading the stories behind the stories, whether they debunked the legends or gave credence to them. I’ve always been interested in history and nonfiction and ghost stories are the old “fake news.” Entertaining but you shouldn’t necessarily take them at face value. As the book went on, I found the stories themselves no less interesting but the format became tedious.

A couple of the stories really stood out to me. There are many cases of ghost stories being used to control a narrative that makes people feel sa…