Saturday, February 20, 2010

S’mores in Senegal and Cake in Kaymor

Here’s a brief blog post about how I’ve been teaching my family and friends in Senegal about standard American treats: s’mores and cake. (This blog is also an advertisement of sorts for how I use things I receive in care packages, in the hopes of receiving more care packages.) :)

Little needs to be said about the s’mores event except that it was a huge success. I brought them out of storage in my trunk one evening when a couple other PCVs were in Kaymor for Wolof language help, so the three of us taught my friends how to make s’mores – and they loved them!!!

A week or two after making the s’mores I decided to try making a cake from a couple of brownie mixes. My friend Yassa and my host mom Suckeye helped me make it. I sent a kid to buy us a couple eggs, some butter, oil, sugar, and powdered milk (it is very standard to send a child to the boutique right nearby to buy things – so don’t worry I’m not endorsing child labor or anything). Then we mixed up the cake batter and put that in a pot and stuck it on top of the standard wood fire we use to cook with. While the cake was cooking we mixed up frosting – chocolate squares (left over from s’mores), butter, powdered milk (and water), and sugar – and got that melting/boiling on the gas. Once it was hot, Yassa and I took turns mixing it with a fork to get it thick (didn’t entirely work, as you can see from the picture – it was still a bit runny when we put it on the cake). A wood fire isn’t exactly ideal conditions for baking a cake, but it worked for the most part – the middle was a little gooey and the outside was a little burnt, and it didn’t come out of the pot very easily, but we were able to salvage most of it and then cover it all up with frosting. I topped it all off with some mini M&M’s I had also received in a care package. Then we set it aside to eat after dinner. When I was taking pictures of the cake, Suckeye wanted a picture with it (and with a 10mille bill that she had in her hand at the time – big bucks!). We ate the cake that night – since there are so many people in my family (like essentially all families here in Senegal) everyone got just a couple bites (literally), but everyone really liked it (some said the frosting was a little too sugary…how can anything be TOO sugary?). :) My host dad ate his piece with bread (as did a couple other people) because it was so sugary and because they eat all food (that isn’t mixed with rice or millet) with bread. I found that a little strange…but at least he liked it! (I was actually kind of hoping that most people wouldn’t like it so I could eat most of it. It is very hard to satisfy my sweet tooth here…) :)

Overall, I think my American-food-taste-tests were a success and hope to continue making both s’mores and cake – as well as any (and every) American foods – in Kaymor. Moral of the story: keep those packages coming! :)

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