Sow (Milk Drink from Senegal)

Senegalese Appetizer

(Milk Drink)


8 cups (2 quarts) buttermilk*
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup vanilla sugar**
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

* = Traditionally made by letting fresh milk go sour outside then adding sugar and ice.
** = Can be ordered online. PenzeysTM has it. Or make your own with vanilla beans and sugar.

Serves 8. Takes 5 minutes.


Combine all ingredients into pitcher or jug. Stir with spoon until well blended.


1) “Sow,” if pronounced incorrectly, in Woolof, a Senegalese language, means something bad.

2) What if calling someone “sow” in Woolof means something that would you get you roughed up, put in prison, or expelled from Senegal?

3) You wouldn’t want that especially after spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on four-star hotels and flying there for its magnificent food and scenery and friendly people. Okay, friendly as long you don’t say “sow” the wrong way to them.

4) So what can you do to keep your words from getting yourself assaulted?

5) Go to another country? Nope. Won’t work. Foreign countries have foreign languages just chock full of okay words that are similar in pronunciation to dirty words, offensive words, and words that if said a little different that will get you dumped off all alone at a glacier when all you really wanted was an ice cube for your orange juice.

6) Learn Woolof. Learn all the languages that are spoken in Senegal. Take those intense language courses! Conjugate those Woolofian verbs every chance you get.

7) Or just smile and point to glass of sow. Just be careful how you point? Pointing the wrong way in a foreign country can get you trouble.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, international, observations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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