Eat: Let the Beef Knuckles Roll!

Pierre Thiam of Le Grand Dakar in Fort Green, Brooklyn has just written the first Senegalese cookbook in English. “Yolele!” translates to, “let the good times roll,” in Wolof, one of the languages spoken in Senegal. This gorgeous cookbook–designed by Luke Hayman of Pentagram and shot by Adam Bartos–is available in most bookstores and Amazon. There are plenty of recipes for those who are not ready for Tripe Stew with Beef and Calf’s Feet, such as Five-Spice Duck, Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters, or Steamed Black Eyed Pea Puree with Eggplant.

Contrary to a recent New York Times article that quoted a restaurant critic claiming that “Africans vastly prefer tough, tough meat,” Thiam’s meat dishes are tender and succulent. The story continues, “They [Africans] will eat tree snails that are so tough you would have difficulty distinguishing it from a section of rubber tire. For them, eating something for dinner is not an appreciation of tenderness. It is an appreciation of toughness, and they want to really chew on the meat and enjoy it because meat is so rare.”

Not only does Yolele! educate readers about Senegalese cuisine, a mix of West African, French, Portuguese and Vietnamese, it’s a glimpse into Senegal itself, a country that has not shared such a bloody past as many of its neighbors. “We were blessed with no natural resources,” the affable Thiam joked recently, “no oil, no diamonds.”

When he’s not writing letters to the editors at The New York Times, he’s cooking outstanding meals at his intimate restaurant that should not be missed. Don’t forget to try the Roasted Mango and Coconut Pudding.

Le Grand Dakar
Pierre Thiam Catering

Buy the book: Amazon


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One Response to “Eat: Let the Beef Knuckles Roll!”

  1. rachel cantor Says:

    When I come to town next, can we go to this restaurant? I loved the Senegalese food I ate there!

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