We thought Scotland was tough to send away from our tournament, but faced with having to eliminate one of our strong African qualifying candidates we wavered on either side of the line before coming to a decision.
We don’t often look at a bag of dried legumes like black-eyed peas and think, “we should make fritters out of that,” but that’s exactly what the Senegalese do. Light and airy, accara went perfectly with sosu kaani, a cooked tomato sauce spiced with habañero peppers.
Two adjectives can best be used to describe Senegalese cuisine — rich and spicy — and as aficionados of both characteristics in our food, we were eager to make Senegalese recipes in our kitchen. As a French colony until the 1960s, the slave trade was abolished, as within all French territory, 1n 1810, more than fifty years before it was in the United States. As a result Senegal was quick to transition from a human-trading nation to a peanut-trading one, and peanuts can be found in one form or another in many of the popular national dishes including the one presented here, maafe ginaar. French and Portuguese colonialism have left their stamp on the food, and nearby Moroccan cuisine to the north has been a strong influence. Recent immigration from Vietnam has played a part in the Senegalese food scene, with the Vietnamese fish sauce nước mắm finding its way onto Dakar store shelves.
We can only lament the fallen Scots and their food for so long before it is time to move forward in the competition. We go to Africa now, where Tanzania and Senegal meet in qualifying. One country will be one step closer to the final round; one will be eliminated. Both will be represented at our best in our kitchen and on the page.