Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Washington Post Celebrates West African Cuisine (and travel updates)

February 29, 2012: Happy Leap Year's Day! I was pleased to read Tim Carman's food column today (on West African cuisine) in the online version of  The Washington Post. He had interviewed me at length for background, and I was thrilled that he shared about the search for a publisher for the regional Ghanaian cookbook Barbara Baeta and I are writing. Incidentally, while the bulk of The Washington Post makes its way to our little community, it does not include the Lifestyle/Food section, so consider this a plea for any of you who are in that area to pick up a copy for me and send it to me at BETUMI, P. O. Box 222, State College, PA 16804. Thank you, I'd be very grateful.

Now that I'm back from Nigeria, I head to Oregon for a few days next week, then will attend the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference in New York City at the end of March and beginning of April.

Later, in June, I'll be at the IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) annual conference in Nevada,  speaking on

Beyond Peppers, Peanuts, and Palmfruit: The Multilayered Tastes and Textures of African Cuisines 

The presentation  "will introduce sub-Saharan African flavor principles, ingredients, and cooking equipment and techniques, with special emphasis on western Africa. From the special texture created by the ridged grinding bowl called “asanka” in Ghana to the signature steamed bean pudding “moinmoin” of Nigeria, from  “Grains of Paradise” and fonio and other “Lost Crops of Africa,” and on to Africa’s love affair with New World crops (e.g., cassava, maize and peanuts), this session will celebrate the abundance and diversity of good tastes from Africa."

I'm also on the books to teach a new course in the African Studies Department at Penn State for the fall semester: Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

I'll keep you posted on these and other activities. Meanwhile, I'm still filing away a massive amount of papers from the last few months, but haven't forgotten my promise to post the recipe for the cassava biscuits/cookies I made last December. It will be coming soon.


Adhis said...

I think it was a great story! Sadly, I threw away my post copy, but my mother tends to hoard them. Will take a look and send!

Stol Jockey said...

Hi Fran, I just stumbled across your blog!!! And I’m thrilled. I have friends from Ghana visiting in July and have been doing my best to collect the ingredients they will need to make a few traditional dishes. The One I’m have a very difficult time with is Kenke... My friends tell me to just get corn meal ... but most of the recipes I can find reference corn flour.. Can you kindly advise which one I should get?

Thanks Clay

Fran said...

Hi, Stol:
Did you see my recipe for kenkey

Let me know if that helps, or email me at

Fran said...

Whoops, I mean, "Clay" ;-)

Mark Benson said...

Who wouldnt want to eat the scrumptious West African food. One should definitely take flights to Lagos, Nigeria and try the amazing Nigerian cuisine there for going through a West African cuisine extravaganza.

Unknown said...

I came across your blog... I love African food and have been learning how to cook it here in American from my Togolese husband. We make a lot of different African Foods and I started a blog about some of the foods I have made. I will enjoy going through your blog.

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