Wednesday, September 22, 2021

They say plagiarism is a form of flattery. 

It is also a blatant form of theft.

The photo at the top right is from a scanning of page 7 of the illustrations in our The Ghana Cookbook. With co-author Barbara Baëta, the book came out at the end of 2015 and has since gone through several printings. 

Recently,  I was appalled to see on several books all purporting to be "new"  or "essential" or "ultimate" "Ghana Cookbooks" by unknown-to-me authors.
I am generally thrilled when new West African books appear  on the scene, usually by respected African culinary experts like Pierre Thiam or Zoe Adjonyoh.  

However, it irritates me when folks with no credentials (or  else, bots?) crank out dozens of copycat books on popular topics.  It took me decades of learning to gain my knowledge.

I first noticed listing several dubious books claiming to have expertise on Ghana's cooking--all seem to be by individuals who crank out dozens of books on a variety of unrelated subjects.  I noticed the first one because it blatantly appropriated one of my personally taken photos from The Ghana Cookbook. "Wilfred Dawson" also plagiarized freely from my work. 

I sure don't feel flattered.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Akpi Seeds

There has been a continued interest in locating an online source for akpi seeds.

This morning I discovered over a dozen replies in the comments section of my postings
by a source I can neither confirm nor deny, but for all who are interested, here it is:
"You can order Akpi seeds, Wholesale/Retail @NATURYTE (Call/WatsApp +2347080890865 or DN"

Good luck.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Oh, Happy Day! A New (Ethiopian) Cook in Town

Ever since Nigerian Sore Shields moved from State College to go back to school and closed The African Market (near Websters, back around 2009), State College has boasted no source for authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Sore used to sell frozen stews to Ethiopian students. Even then, there was  NO local source of authentic locally made teff injera, the wonderful but perishable stable of Ethiopian meals.

That has  all changed with the arrival of Chef Etayehu Zenebe in Centre County! Etayehu has been in the area over a year now, and quietly begun preparing and selling her injera to individuals and groups, requiring only that orders be placed 4 days in advance (to allow proper fermentation of the  dough), AND that customers pick up their orders themselves since she works out of a rented commercial kitchen. She is very hard-working and generous.

She prepares both vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes, as well as injera. I envy her her skill which far surpasses my own. Here is a typical example of some vegetarian dishes she shared with us yesterday (from right to left).

Tikur Gomen (black cumin seeds with collard greens)
Tikil Gomen (cabbage)
Misir wat (red lentil stew)
Azifa (green lentil dip)

And, of course, Injera (Ethiopian sour flatbread) at the top.

Her food has been featured at  Tap Root Kitchen. 

For more information, she may be reached by phone at 717-618-2346 or email at

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Hello, friends, for an update on the BETUMI adinkra cookie stamps, check A Limited Edition selection of the stamps are currently available. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Workshop Tomorrow, July 23rd!

Naomi helping get ready today. I had more requests than I could accommodate, but expect 10 folks to come for the 2-hour workshop. 

Wish us luck! I've never actually baked the biscuits/cookies in Ghana before (never even used my electric oven), so it will be exciting to see how it goes.

Mawusi (the seamstress staying here) helped out with the pot holders and some of the aprons. It's a cooperative project.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Biscuit Project Update

I feel kind of like that old saying "all dressed up and nowhere to go," except it should be "all set up and no way to start."

After a several day delay (due to United and South African airlines), I arrived in Ghana determined to discover why the solar panels and inverter were not working at my house. It's a long process, and the power has been off twice in the interim.

I'm reluctant to go ahead with the workshop until I know we have reliable power for the refrigerator and oven, so . . . someone is coming again tomorrow  (Saturday) to take the 8  batteries to be charged (at least a 3-day delay) and we can investigate further. I'm still here for 2 more weeks, so IF we get the power issue fixed, will schedule the workshop sometime during the week of the 22nd of July to the 27th. Let me know if you have a preference for the day and time. Right now, I'm very flexible.

The house is in Community 18, Tema (Baatsona), and I can send you my phone number if you give me yours. I'm planning on about only 5 or 6 people, so let me know if you are still interested.

As you know, two of my favorite proverbs are: "the road doesn't stop the bird," and "little by little the chicken drinks water." Here's to innovation paired with culture!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Adinkra Shortbread (vegan, gluten-free) Biscuits: One, Two, Three

After almost two years working on the Ghana-friendly flour mixture and recipe, and perfecting the Akinkra stamps, BETUMI now has a (copyrighted) version of two stamps ready to be shared (commercial manufacturing is in the works). Fran plans to be in Ghana (Tema) during July, and if time, stove, and electricity cooperate, is  planning a workshop (free, but invitation only) while there.

Why "Ghana-friendly," you ask? It's sad to me that folks think they HAVE to import cutters,  wheat flour and butter in order to have delicious, crispy biscuits with indigenous designs on them. Vegan, because  shortbread biscuits (cookies) need no eggs, and this version needs no butter.

The workshop (assuming it happens) will begin with a discussion of gluten-free baking and the chemistry behind it. Believe me, one cannot just substitute any old flour for wheat. It's an art.

We'll then discuss:

#1) Preparing the gluten-free flour mixture: the various flours, starches, and flavors

#2) Preparing the biscuit (cookie) doughs using the flour mixture (Hint: think flavors like coconut, ripe plantain, pure vanilla, chocolate, sugar. . .)

3. Chilling, rolling out, cutting and baking the biscuits (vanilla or chocolate):

Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee or juice!

Contact me  at if you'd like more information, or are interested.