She usually starts cooking around 2 pm. This week, I have joined her in the kitchen for her cooking sessions as I want to discover the secrets to her dishes. I bring the boys downstairs and we all sit in the kitchen. It is not only a time for me to see how she cooks, but also a time for us to talk with each other.
Yvonne supports many people in her household. She has 5 children, grandchildren, and even has some of her sisters children living with her. Two of her sisters were killed by rebels in Casamance when they were sleeping. She left her husband many years ago, which is a very brave thing for a Senegalese woman to do. It's hard for any woman to do, but here in Senegal there are cultural reasons why women should never leave. It is deeply frowned upon, no matter what the reason is for leaving.
She said she left him because he hurt her.
And that is when I noticed the many scars on her back. Arms. And legs too.
My time with Yvonne in the kitchen is something I look forward to every day. It's not just about learning her secrets to her creations, but a time to get to know her and learn about Senegalese culture.
Today we are making Ratatouille.