The Reverend A.G. Smith
Retiree, Sierra Leone
Rev. Smith is 85 years old and has been retired for “a long, long time,” he said with failing memory and physical stamina. Cared for by his daughter, AG’s family receives his pension via their bank account and they use the money for food, medicine and school fees for the grandchildren. He likens his life to bitter leaf sauce—a staple in the region. “To make bitter leaf sauce, you must pound it and pound it to take away the bitterness, then it is delicious. Our life is like that. If you do not pound, it stays bitter. But if you work to make your life happy, it will be happy,” he said with a smile.
What is bitter leaf sauce?
Commonly known as shakpa or satuwi leaves in Sierra Leone, they have a sour flavor. Before cooking, the leaves must be boiled, washed, rinsed and then kept in a bowl of cold water. When the sour flavor disappears, it is ready to use for cooking.
Taken from Foods of Sierra Leone and Other West African Countries: A Cookbook