Culinary Anthropologist

Life is a cabaret

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Smbarnabydogonbeer0001.jpgA couple of weeks ago, when Barnaby was in Mali, he came across something very interesting in the Dogon village of Djiguibombo.  Hidden away in women’s houses were huge clay pots of bubbling liquid: millet beer. 

A little odd he thought, for a largely Muslim country, until he realised most Dogon pay more dues to their ancestors than to Allah. 

Unfortunately for him this beer wasn’t quite ready to drink.  Millet beer takes three days to make, and each day a different woman’s batch is ready.  Having not quite yet fathomed the finer points of Dogon culture and society, Barnaby had gone to the wrong house.

Smbarnabylobibeer0001.jpgBut today in Burkina Faso, Barnaby couldn’t help but find the right place.  While visiting the evening market in the (equally animist) Lobi village of Hélo, he found that every other stall was in fact a pub, or as they call it round here, a cabaret.  One smiley lady with a big blue barrel of her home-made millet beer beckoned him in to her stall.  

So he took a seat next to the men on the log and had a little calabash full to see if he liked it.  He did.  Quite like cider, he thought.  So he had another bigger one. 

Then someone got out the salty juicy chunks of pork, and Barnaby thought perhaps he’d arrived in animist heaven.

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