Eurostar Market

March 16, 2007

A corner grocery store in the Parker Gray neighborhood. I have a corner grocery store in my neighborhood, too. It’s called 7-11. All the corner grocery stores in the West End are called that.

It’s What, Again?

August 16, 2006

dawadawa powder

Okay, all you foodies! Know what this is? This had me totally stumped. I’ve never seen it before, had no idea what it was or what was made from it, so I checked the internet. Dawadawa is a Ghanaian dish made from fermented locust beans. There’s that “fermented” word again. Pass.

By the way, the form of the question I used as today’s caption is how someone in Ghana would phrase such an inquiry. I would be more inclined to say, “What did you say that was?” or “Would you repeat that, please?” Ghanaian English is filled with such fun phrases as “I’m coming,” when the person is actually leaving. That’s their version of “I’ll be right back.”

Okay, enough food shopping. Tomorrow we go outside and do something else.

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August 15, 2006


Now here’s something I was amazed to find here. This is kenkey, a favorite Ghanaian dish. It’s made of fermented corn meal, shaped into balls, wrapped in banana leaves then steamed. It is usually eaten with soup or stew. Ghanaians are crazy about it.

I can’t tolerate anything bitter or sour, so just the scent of fermented corn meal was enough for me to know better than to try it. I saw it everywhere in Ghana, but I never thought I’d see it in Alexandria.

Another Option

August 14, 2006

powdered ignames from Ghana

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle to pound your fufu, here’s another option: powdered ignames. Tropiway Fufu Powder is made in Ghana. According to someone who knows his fufu, this is the best brand. Fufu can be made from ignames or manioc tubers, but most fufu lovers agree that igname fufu is best.

African Cooking

August 13, 2006

unloading ignames

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!