Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in Kaolack, Senegal!

Well we had quite a Thanksgiving feast here (on the day before Thanksgiving because there is a big Islamic celebration on Friday/Saturday [i.e. “Black Friday” and the day after it] so we all wanted extra time to travel back to our respective villages for that). Our meal consisted of 3 turkeys (2 grilled on a big enclosed charcoal grill [see picture below] and one deep fat fried), mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato mash (we have a different kind of sweet potato/yam here, but it was still just as delicious!), squash soup/mash (it was kind of thick soup), home-made rolls, cranberry sauce (from a can, but good nonetheless), deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, cucumber, tomato, and carrot salad with home-made balsamic vinaigrette, lentil and veggie soup, and millet bread (instead of cornbread, which was sooooooo delicious and Kenny totally just made the recipe up as he went since we couldn’t find corn meal/flour). Everything was incredibly delicious – we’re pretty sure we had the best Thanksgiving meal in Senegal, even better than the thanksgiving dinner at the Ambassador’s house (where some PCVs ate). :)

Dessert consisted of several different options, all of which were pretty untraditional Thanksgiving Day desserts except for the pumpkin log (and Teresa actually used a squash, not a pumpkin) and apple crisp (since it’s easier to make in a large quantity than apple pie and just as tasty). Teresa made the pumpkin log, pineapple upside-down cake, and apple crisp. I made snickerdoodle cookies and peanut butter brownies with chocolate butter-cream frosting and chocolate sprinkles. The brownies were a huge hit – I am definitely going to be making them again!!

It was quite challenging cooking for 35+ people in such a small kitchen, but we made it work by planning ahead, making a schedule, starting the night before, and cooking all night. We were right on schedule, though – we started eating just a little bit after 5 (the turkey carving is what held us up at the end and you can only have so many people around a turkey with sharp knives…). :)

We were all so full after dinner – as is supposed to be the case after Thanksgiving dinner – that we couldn’t clean at all, but just had to sit/lay around and chat. What was so great about our dinner above and beyond the tastiness of it all, was that, after all the expenses, it still only cost each of us 3,200 cfa, which is about $7. I think that’s saying something about our creativity and resourcefulness that we were able to make a genuine American meal here so cheaply (and quickly for that matter – though about 5 people were cooking all day and anywhere from 5-10 more people were helping out with various things, like chopping, stirring, doing dishes, etc.). But creativity and resourcefulness are qualities a PCV must have – and if he/she doesn’t have them, he/she learns them very quickly! :)

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