Stinky Cheese Revisited

Clockwise, starting at 12 - Tomme des Pyrénées, Gorgonzola, Muenster, and Chamois d’OrAs I mentioned before, being in Abidjan means I have access to French cheeses. This week I splurged and got not one, but four different cheeses. On display here are Chamois d’Or, Tomme des Pyrénées, Gorgonzola, and Muenster (by far the stinkiest).

Back in high school I once put some muenster in the dorm fridge and the housekeeper cleaned then entire fridge out. He was convinced a small rodent or lizard had died in the fridge. Now that is some good stank!

Super White Oats

Super White OatsTalk about the breakfast of champions! This is what I’ve been eating every morning. They may not taste all that great but staring at the genius artwork while I eat makes me forget about all that.

I’m a bit perplexed by the yellow burst in the bottom right stating “NEW Improved”. I didn’t know you could improve on raw oats all that much. Maybe the old version was just white and not super white.

I know one thing for sure – if David Brent saw these he would point a finger and say “Racial.”


A can of Nestle Nido (powdered milk) in our kitchenWhen we arrived in our house, the kitchen was stocked with the basics – sugar, coffee (a must have!), jam, eggs, spices, oil, margarine, and powdered milk. Yup, that’s right – Nido – Nestle’s good ‘ole powdered milk.

I grew up on powdered milk at boarding school in the Ivory Coast. I hated the stuff. Every morning the cafeteria fixed a giant vat of it and every morning it was unique – some days thick, some days thin, some days sour, some days warm, some days cold. Funny thing is that I can’t think of any days when it was good. Read More

Buying Food at the Market

Nalerigu offers a very limited variety of foods. Once you eliminate the ones that aren’t very safe to eat (like meats that have not been refrigerated) you have even less options.

Trey and I thought we would show you what I buy in a typical shopping spree on market day (market day is every 3 days). Read More

It’s not Spoiled, It’s Fermented

Banku served with fried tilapia from the Volta River and a tomato sauceMy last food related post about the mold in cheese being delicious flavor got a lot of mixed reactions. Some folks didn’t agree with me that mold was flavor. After trying a local dish named Banku I too have found I disagree with someone else’s idea of flavor.

Banku is a sort of corn dough. Farmers grind their corn into a powder and then mix it with water into balls of dough. The doughy substance is then put in warm water and left to sit for 3-4 days. During that time the corn ferments and looses its sweetness. The final result is a sticky ball of dough that is quite tangy and sour tasting.

Banku with fish and okra soupBanku is served with a soup or a thick tomato based sauce. I had it with fish and the tomato sauce the first time and the second time with a slimy okra soup. I’m getting used to the dish but it can’t say that I rate it up there with my moldy bleu cheese.

It’s Not Mold, It’s Flavor

Bleu d’AuvergneI love cheese. Not Velvetta. Not “American”. Real cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne, Muenster. Some people call them stinky. I call them delicious.

Being in Abidjan this past week has allowed me to get some real French cheese and eat it on real French baguettes. Today I bought a huge chunk of Bleu d’Auvergne – probably the best semi-soft blue cheese in the world. I’m in heaven.

Photo of the Day

The white powder you see is ground corn. It has been spread out on a cement slab to dry in the sun. I took this photo by Koko Duu, the hospital’s nutrition center. Women with malnourished children bring their kids there during the day to feed them a high protein porridge.

In the mid-day sun the corn was a brilliant white that threw me off at first. I didn’t realize it was corn – all I could see was a blinding square of light in the middle of the grass. On close inspection my eyes adjusted and the powder looked like an abstract work of art with all the finger lines through it from when it was spread out.