Monday, August 29, 2011

Africa Cookbook Project Update

In August my son and husband independently brought me books to build up the Africa Cookbook collection, some gotten in Abuja, and one in Lagos, I believe. 3 of them are new to me, and one is a copy of a 31-year old paperback I already own that is beginning to fall apart.

The Nigerian Cookery Book, by Maryam Dada Ibrahim, was first printed in 1997 (ISBN 978 027 119 8, published by Mashkur Holdings Ltd in Abuja) , and contains over 300 recipes (149 pages). It's a welcome addition to my growing collection related to Nigerian cuisine, and while I've not tried any of the recipes yet, plan to do so soon. It appears her effort was supported by numerous groups, from the Abuja Council for Arts and Culture, to the Nigeria Tourist Board, and The Nigerian Hotels Association Lagos.

Two other booklets are much more modest. One, Food & Health by a white woman (I assume, since it appears that is her photo on the cover), whose name is given as simply "Rebecca T. A.," is a small pamphlet of 53 pages published by Ades-Aris Books, Abuja (no date is given). Along with a number of Nigerian recipes, information is included on kitchen equipment, names of ingredients in English, Yoruba, Hause and Igbo, herbal remedies for diabetes and hypertension, and "40 Laws of Longetivity." The other pamphlet, 40 pages long, also with no date, is authored by a man, David Oluwaseum, and is called Dynamic Successful Cook: Easy way to give your life a meaning. It is quite an eclectic, sketchy, and somewhat hard to follow, collection of recipes for over 4 dozen basic dishes, along with recipes for making soap, candles, lotion, etc., and ending with advice on succeeding in setting up businesses, including but not limited to those related to food.  It is clearly aimed at a broader, less educated audience than Ibrahim's book.

Finally, my son DK handed me a copy of Ola Olaore's  1980 soft cover edition of The Best Kept Secrets of West and East African Cooking (aka African Cooking), published by W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd. This little 96-page book is a gem. It is illustrated beautifully, and covers a wide range of East and West African classic dishes. It was republished in hardback by Foulsham in 1990 as Traditional African Cooking.

Hmmmm. I was just checking to see if I could find any biographical info on Ola Olaore, and it appears she was/is? a journalist, and I see that African Cooking has been reprinted numerous times, in both English and German? It appears that it was reprinted in both 2008 and 2009:
It's very impressive to me that she keeps it out there. It deserves its classic status.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to Work: updates

Hello, friends. I'm freshly back from the break I took after my recipe writing marathon of June and July. I hope you all had some times of re-creation and renewal during the past few months. Our family just shared a few relaxing days in Virginia: husband Kwadwo (and me) from State College, PA; son DK on vacation from Anam New City in Nigeria; daughter Masi (and her friend Inza) from New York City; sons/nephews Sam and Ernest from Lansdale, PA; daughter Abena and her husband Koranteng from Berkeley, CA, and the star of the whole vacation, sweet little 5-month old granddaughter Kumiwah.

I'm now back in my office. The Fall issue of Gastronomica just arrived in my mailbox. It includes my review of James McCann's  Stirring the Pot: A History of African Cuisine.

Today and tomorrow I'm preparing for a tasting seminar at Penn State on Wed., August 24 "Africa's Place at the Global Table: Celebrating Africa's Cuisines" as part of their Africa2Ag week that kicks off today.

In December I have a couple of events scheduled so far:

Thursday, December 8: Catering an African meal for a Penn State class on African Women Writers
Sunday, December 11"Kinsase akidibua na bantu (Delicious meals are best eaten communally): Cuisine and Culture in Central Africa." A seminar introducing Central African cuisines and food cultures, exploring influences on them, differences and similarities in ingredients, cooking techniques, equipment, and flavor principles, followed by an opportunity to sample several dishes. This will be in conjunction with an upcoming exhibit on "Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa."

For now, it's back to the kitchen. . .