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.


Tantum said...


Kudos for starting up the African Cook Book project! How goes it so far?

Kris - University of Toronto Student

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