Ready, set… give thanks!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Well, not really. But when you live in Dakar, it never hurts to start planning and gathering early. Think of it as harvesting American ingredients!

Not all table spreads will feature the same menu or recipes, but here’s a general checklist to be sure you’ve got your bases covered in time. Please comment below if you have anything to add!

Turkey and gravy
Hold on to your Pilgrim hats! I have a lead on some frozen Butterball turkeys headed this way from the US at a very reasonable price. Stay tuned…

Last year Hypermarché sold turkeys, but I don’t know how much they cost or how far in advance you had to order. Does anyone know? Are there other places that sell turkeys?

Between tapalapa bread and cornbread, I think most recipes should work here.

However you may want to consider hunting down celery at the veggie stands and freezing some to have on hand.

Sweet potatoes
Local sweet potatoes (patates douces) are white on the inside and aren’t quite right in terms of texture and taste. But carrots work surprisingly well for casseroles and soufflés. (I usually use 4 carrots to every 1 local sweet potato in my recipes. And I’m not above adding a little red/yellow food coloring to make it look right!)

Mashed potatoes
No probs.

Green bean casserole
Dior Diarama often carries cream of mushrooms soup, and so does Hypermarché Exclusif. You can also buy the Knorr soup mix. Or make a white sauce, add frozen mushrooms and cube of beef bouillon.

Good news on the crunchy onions front! The oignons croustillants available in the apéritifs section at Casino and Hypermarché work great.

Cranberry sauce
I think we’re counting on Dior Diarama for this one, unless someone knows of another place to buy them.

Deviled eggs
Local buutik eggs + cornichons + mayonnaise + paprika (anyone seen it here?). You’re all set.

All ingredients available here, even whole wheat flour if you’re going healthier this year.

Pecan pie
As far as I know, pecans and Caro syrup are not available in Dakar. Does anyone know differently? Has anyone petitioned Dior Diarama for them? Does Hypermarché sell a UK equivalent to Caro under another name?

Frozen pastry crusts are available at most grocery store chains.

Pumpkin pie
Again, carrots save the day! Seriously. Try it. You’ll be amazed. You can also use local potiron, but I prefer carrots.

I’m sure Dior Diarama will carry canned pumpkin though… right?

All the spices are available individually at Hypermarché, with the exception of perhaps ground cloves.

Frozen pastry crusts are available at most grocery store chains.

As they say in America… bon appétit!



  1. I just saw Ocean Spray cranberry sauce with and without whole berries at Hyper Marche. They also had cream of mushroom soup and stovetop stuffing.

  2. I tried your “carrot” pumpkin pie idea and my husband, who has very discerning taste, could not tell the difference. Thanks!!! Our Thanksgiving dessert dilemma is solved.

  3. A couple of years ago I saw a live turkey at Marche Tilene. It was with the live chickens. If you buy one they will kill it and remove the feathers! I haven’t checked lately. Paprika and cloves are also available locally.

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