March 29, 2005
I've had a lifelong love affair with snacks. Snacking to me is as vital as breathing oxygen. As my sister and brothers will attest, I panic if I sense there are no snacks within a ten-minute radius of wherever I am.
So it's natural that since I first set foot on African soil so many years ago, I have loved West African snacks.
In Niger, I adored beignets, farine masas, grilled taro root dipped in ground piment, sweet dates, kooli-kooli ground peanut chunks, and Lebanese frozen chocolate bars. In Ghana, I've learned to crave what I initially thought were inferior snacks. Here, plantains are King Snack, and pretty much the only snack. Everywhere you go there are plantains. Fried whole plantains. Grilled plantain halves. Thinly shaved fried plantain slices. Tidy round plantain chips. Baked plantain slivers. Whatever snack is available, it seems to almost always be based on the plantain.
Once in a while, a young boy or girl walks by with a load of fried taro root chips on their head, and I eagerly snap up baggies full of the salty white and purple chips.
I recently found myself waxing poetic with a Togolese chef about the crispy sugar-dipped beignets and piment-laced corn fritters of our neighboring francophone countries... I think I may be overdue for a day-trip to Lome, Togo, for some serious snacking.
Posted by Cathryn Poff at March 29, 2005 12:47 AM
Ymmm - I'm getting hungry already - and I'm not a great snacker. It's great to be part of your adventures (can't beat the food part!).
Posted by: Nikki at March 29, 2005 5:30 PM
Mmmmm, snacks. My other best friend on those long...long...looooooooooooooooong all nighters. Taro root chips sound tasty! Have you ever tried any of the Asian type snack foods? Although I know you and Curt said no the shrimp chips, but if you like taro chips I'm sure we can find some more palatable snackies to feed the craving.
Great blog entries; make me wish I could see Africa for myself! Best luck and good travels!
Posted by: Huyen at March 30, 2005 12:23 AM
You crack me up! I have a feeling you could fill this entire blog with snack stories. I love hearing about your experiences. That country sounds like a smorgesboard of stories! Keep them coming!
And be well.
Posted by: Catherine J at April 2, 2005 11:40 PM
I was surprised to see you list through your favorite West African snacks and not find mention of Kuli Kuli...the crunchy, bite-sized ball of cake left over from peanuts that had been pressed for their oil. This ball is then re-fried in its own oil. Although locally used exclusively to flavor sauces, you had to go and turn it into a snack food. I admit that they were tasty, but ordering 5 kg as a month's supply is blurring the limit between a snack food and a staple food! I can sense your mouth watering now...right Cath?
Posted by: Eddie at June 22, 2005 6:40 PM