I had a 10 pound Butterball turkey (thanks to the commissary in Accra, Ghana) and plans to cook an early Thanksgiving. Even when attending Thanksgiving somewhere else (as I am this time) I always cook a turkey so I’ll have leftovers. Usually I do it the weekend after, but I’m headed to Frankfurt Friday night and won’t be back until Sunday a week later, so I cooked last Saturday.
Since I’ve been here, other folks at the embassy have been nice enough to invite me for meals, so I felt the need to respond in kind. Besides, Thanksgiving dinners are always best shared!
By the time I was done we had the turkey, stuffing (made in part with Irish brown bread, which I had never done before but recommend), salad, two different vegetables (and a guest brought a third) sweet and mashed potatoes, fresh baked bread and both types of cranberry sauce. Another guest brought a cherry pie and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Needless to say, we pigged out, seriously, and there were still plenty of leftovers! I dirtied every pot, pan, bowl and plate in the place.
The only problem with the meal was that my kitchen here in Cotonou is quite small and unairconditioned. Spend the day cooking and you’ll work up a sweat. Just try to avoid dripping in the food!
The topper of the evening was introducing the two kids who were there to “Yellow Submarine”, which they had never seen.
The next day, I joined a group from the embassy to go visit Genvie (pronounced john-vee-yay). This town, about an hour out of Cotonou, is totally on stilts over the water. After a while, the stilts rot, and they have to build a new house. There are also some towns that spend part of the year over the water, and part on dry land, depending on the seasonal water level. Change is coming to Genvie and the nearby towns. They’re starting to build on concrete piers, even build concrete block buildings on top, but others are still wooden houses with thatched roofs on wooden stilts. We toured the towns in a small boat. Everyone in Genvie has a canoe, most of the dugouts made from logs imported from Nigeria up the river. If the wind blows, they’ll raise a sail, otherwise they paddle with an oar that looks like an oversized ping pong paddle on a broomstick.
A few photos: