Saturday, July 28, 2012

More about Finding Food


I have shown you the wide variety of things you can buy at the marché, but I did not show you how they make baked pork. There are several men who bake a pig every market day. First you have to buy a pig and take it to the veterinarian to have it inspected.  Here you see one of the men who makes baked pork with the pig he is about to cook. Notice the round purple stamp on the pig, showing that it has been inspected.
Here is the mud brick oven in which the pig will be roasted.  You can see the fire burning to get the oven hot.  Next to it is the big metal pan in which they put the pork pieces to cook.
On the subject of men who make roast pork, here is an interesting story. I may have told you that the village chief died suddenly this spring.  He was relatively young, probably in his early forties. His younger brother, who is a student at the Lycée, told me that he died of a stroke.  His doctor had told him he had high blood pressure and that he should stop drinking.  He did not, and probably that was the thing that precipitated the stroke.  However I also heard that one of the pork vendors had a dispute with the chief only a few days before he died.  I am not sure what happened, but it may have been that the vendor did not think that the chief had paid for some pork that someone picked up for him.  In any case, it is not a good thing to insult the chief. The vendor was to appear before the chief for a hearing on the day after the chief died.  Some folks made the association between the argument and the chief's death and blamed the vendor.  They decided the vendor should be punished and destroyed his oven. 
 Not surprisingly, the vendor has now left town and I hear he is working in the provincial capital. 

But what is the marché looks like this?
Chicken and Pentards

If you want meat any day of the week, you can go to this corner where a couple of different groups of guys grill chickens and guinea fowl. They grill them with the heads on so you can be sure which kind of bird you are getting. They get them about half cooked and set them to the side of the grill to keep warm.  When you order one, they put it over the hot part of the fire and finish cooking it.  They give it to you with onions and tomatoes, if they have them, and other seasonings and it is quite tasty. The only problem is that, unless you tell them not to, they will chop it up into small pieces, complete with the bone, and you get bone chips mixed in with everything else. It is also possible to get a half -cooked one to take home and finish cooking yourself.

Sort of a grocery store

There are no super markets as you know them in the USA, but there are small places, in between a super market and a 7-11 type of place, in the big cities like Ouaga and Bobo. As with all stores in this country, you can never be sure that the product you are looking for will be there.  Maybe they had it the last time you visited, but they are all sold out now and you may never find that product again.

In smaller towns there are places that sell canned goods, like you see here. There are very few choices of brands.  Usually there is one type of couscous, one or two brands of pasta, one brand of tomato paste, and so on.  They probably have some beauty products and school supplies. 
If they have a freezer you may be able to get a cold bottle of soda or juice. They also have big bags of things like sugar, corn flour, wheat flour, and rock salt, which they will weigh  and package up for you in a plastic bag.


In small towns there are ways to get food that is already cooked for you.  Many of the volunteers here like what they refer to as benga.  It is a combination of beans and rice that is usually flavored a bit.  When you buy it the person selling it to you may ask if you want oil added, which most Burkinabè do like, and what they call pemont, ground up hot pepper. Enough for a hardy meal costs about a quarter.

There are also small restaurants, like this one.  They usually have cold drinks, including sodas and beer.  The menu might be posted, but you usually have to ask what they have today. In the picture you can see the pleasant seating area under a hangar.  On the far right is the back of the building where the cooking takes place.

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