Senegal: A Feast for All

by0| PUBLISHED May 23, 2012 8:00 AM
Senegal: A Feast for All
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Marche Kermel, in Dakar.
Madiakhere Gueye, one of the author's hosts in Dakar.
Khady Mbow (left) and her niece Sini prepare a meal at their home in Dakar.
The remains of a meal at the home of the Gueye family, in Dakar.
A fishing boat comes ashore at Soumbedioune.
Marie Jeanette Diop (left) and a household employee at Diop's home in Dakar.
Corniche Ouest, a beach in Dakar.
Peppers, scallions, tomatoes, and herbs for sale at Marche Kermel, in Dakar.
A coffee vendor at Marche Kermel, in Dakar.
A tea break on the beach at Corniche Ouest, in Dakar.
In Senegal's cosmopolitan capital, Dakar, the Wolof are the largest ethnic group. As of 1902, this was the capital of all of French West Africa, which accounts for the ubiquity of fresh bread.
Chinese gunpowder tea is brewed with sugar and mint and served in a tiny glass called a kas.
In the midst of a busy day, the ataya, an elaborate, three-cup ritual that is ubiquitous in west Africa, functions as a social and gustatory salve.
People go grocery shopping at markets like the large covered one downtown called Marche Kermel for fresh produce.
Dishes like _thieboudienne_ call for vegetables like Scotch bonnet peppers, turnips, and squash to create the perfect flavor.
A dish with chopped carrots and onions cooks on a stove.
Despite symmetry and order at Marche Kermel, in Dakar, navigating any Dakar market requires great tactical sense.
A street vendor grills kabobs.
Classic Senegalese street foods are midday snacks.
In Senegal, the women cook while the men sit in thumb-twirling inertia.