Bonjour, and long time no see, from the Republic of Guinea! Located on the western coast of Africa, Guinea is a predominantly Muslim country which gained its independence from France in 1958. As for Jess and I, after a busy couple of months we were excited to grab our globetrotting passports again and learn as much as we could about this culturally rich West African nation.
To begin our adventure, Jess prepared a Guinean breakfast of omelette and toasted baguette. This kind of breakfast is usually available as street food in places like Conakry, the country’s bustling capital city. If Jess were a real street vendor, I’m sure she would sell out in a flash!
After shopping for some groceries at the local Thai market, we returned home and watched the Geography Now episode about Guinea:
We learned that Guinea has one of the largest natural supplies of aluminum (bauxite) in the world.
For lunch, Jess prepared a vegetarian version of kansiye from this recipe that she discovered online. Kansiye is a very popular stew in West Africa, usually prepared with beef, kid, or chicken. Ours featured green lentils, and was also nut-free because Jess substituted sunflower butter for peanut butter.
That afternoon, we tried watching several short YouTube videos about Guinea, including a dubbed interview with president Alpha Condé. Jess chopped up the fresh pineapple (one of the country’s primary crops) that appears in the cover photo above for a sweet afternoon snack.
For dinner, I tried out a pair of recipes that Jess had discovered in the World Cookbook. The main dish was yétissé de tofu, a vegetarian version of the more authentic yétissé de poulet (chicken). I also made okra rice, a popular side dish.
In the evening, we started to watch a feature-length documentary about Guinea called Kindia 2015, the third installment in a long-term human development intervention sponsored by the French television station Canal+ (more information here) and taking place in the coastal region of Kindia.
The documentary looked exciting, but with our limited French abilities we soon bailed and decided to enjoy some unrelated programming (in English) from NHK World instead.
The next morning, we enjoyed more of Jess’s baguette omelettes for breakfast, followed a while later by more fresh pineapple. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician, but hearing the music of a country often seems the closest to actually being there. Here’s a recording of Bembeya Jazz, an ensemble that has been popular in Guinea since the 1960s.
Our biggest culinary adventure on Sunday was to bake a caramel tart with mangoes and bananas. Here is the recipe (in French), which Jess observed appears similar to tarte tatin, a French dessert made with apples.
Jess and I were delighted to return to our globetrotting adventures once more before the new year, and Guinea gave us a warm welcome—literally. While temperatures in Buffalo sank into the single digits for much of the weekend, the city of Conakry enjoyed highs of 80 Fahrenheit. We look forward to more international escapades in the year ahead. Until then, au revoir!