Dis-moi ce que tu manges et je te dirai qui tu es. Le lait des Peuls, Kosam Foulbé

Sada Mamadou BA

fr Anthropozoologica 39 (1) - Pages 27-41

Published on 30 July 2004

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal domestications: social and symbolic dimensions. Homage to Jacques Cauvin

Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are. Milk of the Peuls, Kosam Foulbé.

Can the adage "Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are" be applied to the West African societies of the Sahel, especially if they are studied through their techniques of food production and consumption, which are evolved from myth, legend and ritual, so that they are defined as a kind of cultural "fabrication"? The following text proposes some elements of response to this question through the examination of the production and consumption of milk, as well as the symbolic context in which it is situated, among the Peuls, a herding people of West Africa, whose practices contrast strongly with those of the neighbouring agricultural societies.


Peuls, West Africa, milk, cattle, symbolism, cultural technology.

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