Thursday, December 22, 2011


Honestly, before coming to Senegal I had only a vague idea of what peanuts looked like before they were roasted and salted or ground up for sandwiches. This is what peanut plants look like. They're all over the place here, and they tend to be about knee-high, but can get bigger. 

(Thanks, Wikipedia.)

This is a little bunch of raw, just-dug peanuts that one of my host brothers handed me a few weeks ago, like a little bouquet. 

The peanuts are roasted by a few of the small boys, who make a bed of coals from smoldering corn husks and cobs that they've scavenged and then push the raw peanuts into the embers, charring the shells, singeing their fingers, making me nervous. 

To me raw peanuts taste unripe, almost sour, like something you'd feed a hamster, but these peanuts were fresh, a wonderful new kind of taste I had trouble describing -- like, what airplane peanuts are to these peanuts what sushi is to canned tuna. (I like canned tuna, but it's a whole different deal.) 

They tasted warm and fresh and clean, they had a green bright flavor and a rich meaty crunch that made me think of standing in the sunshine, eating a BLT. I was hungry, and they were delicious. 

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