There are also several African supermarkets close to where I live. From 1996-98 I lived in Togo, West Africa, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, so I enjoy chatting with African immigrants and finding out which country they’re from.
This Ghanaian man is unloading ignames (pronounced IN-yams), a huge tuber which is the basis of a popular dish. You can see the ignames reflected in the mirror above the left end of the cardboard box. The ignames are peeled, cooked and pounded in a giant mortar carved out of a tree trunk with pestles bigger than baseball bats. Think I’m exaggerating? To see me pounding ignames, click here. And for those of you who wanted to see more of me on August 1, now’s your chance!
Back to our African cooking lesson. The resulting igname pulp is combined with a little hot water and turns into a flavorless rubbery dough called fufu. Pieces are pulled off, dipped into the sauce of your choice and swallowed without chewing. Fufu is a favorite West African dish. To be a new African immigrant in Alexandria and to be able to make food like you had at home is so important.
Even though this young man was happy to have me take his picture, the unpleasant woman who runs the place was not at all happy that I was taking pictures in the store. So I’m not saying the name of the store, and no free publicity for her!