What do people eat in Cote d’Ivoire?


The Ivorians are kind people who enjoy inviting others for dinner they believe those who are blessed enough to prepare a meal should share their good fortune. In many villages people eat together in a common area. Women and girls eat as a group, Men eat as a group and young boys eat as a third group. They eat with their right hand. It is considered rude to reach across the table and they want everyone to receive similar amounts of food.  Coughing, sneezing and talking during the meal is considered rude.  If you need to cough, it is customary to leave the meal area. After the meal a bowl of water is passed around to cleanse the hands.

In rural areas, before the meal, a calabash (bottle gourd) with water is served, and people wash their hands in it in turns: first an honorable guest or the head of the family, then everyone else in the order of seniority, so by the time it gets to the children, the water can be dirty. Children eat together with adults, and their responsibility is to hold the calabash with their left hand so that it does not spin or shake. An adult will not scrape the food out from the bottom of a pan, as then the children who cannot eat quickly and are not as agile, will be left hungry. After the meal everyone thanks the elders for the treat, and their reply is: “All the thanks should go to God!”

The peoples of Côte d'Ivoire will serve the meal to a guest in a separate calabash: the more honorable a guest is, the more food he is offered. But a polite guest will not finish his meal, and will leave something to the host’s children. The people of Cote d’Ivoire sometimes give food to their children in separate calabashes and the children boast in front of each other that the one who got the biggest portion is loved by his mother more than the others.

Ivoirians eat yams, plantains, rice millet, corn and peanuts as staples for their diets. The national dish is fufu (foofoo) which is plantains, cassava or yams pounded into a sticky mass and served with a seasoned meat and sauce called kedjenou (KED-gen-ooh). Kedjenou is made from peanuts, eggplant okra or tomatoes. A typical side dish is a porridge made from grated cassava called Attieke. Meat, chicken and fish are popular among those who can afford it. Many dishes have hot peppers and fresh fruits are a typical dessert.

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