Thursday, August 30, 2012

Africa Cookbook Project: From Mandela's kitchen

Yesterday I added a welcome volume to the Africa Cookbook Collection: a book by Nelson Mandela's personal chef.

I first heard about Xoliswa Ndoyiya's cookbook (authored with quietly impressive help from Anna Trapido) Ukutya Kwasekhaya ("home food"): Tastes from Nelson Mandela's Kitchen in February, 2012, when it was featured online in the BBCNews. It's not the kind of "celebrity" cookbook that usually makes the news in North America.

I had already heard that Nelson Mandela prefers to eat traditional dishes from South Africa, and was excited to hear that Ndoyiya's cookbook shared over 5 dozen recipes, many of which feature "homestyle" dishes (such as umphokoqo (crumbed maize meal porridge with sour milk), umnqusho (samp and beans), ulusu (tripe), umsila wenkomo (oxtail stew), and isophu (sugar bean and white maize soup). There are also a number of South African dishes with other influences (e.g., paella, lasagne, and strawberry trifle), but the cover, showing two hands holding white maize kernels, captures the flavor of the book. In addition, the 173-page hardcover book is bursting with homespun wisdom ("When I was young I understood that my mother was stirring love into every pot of hot ulusu and, even if I didn't always like it, . . . that my paternal grandmother, MaSitatu, was feeding me her hopes and dreams along with her umkhuphu"), as well as  anecdotes about, and lovely photos with, the famous family she has served since 1992 (2 years beforeNelson Mandela became president). I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but am thrilled to have Ukutya Kwasekhaya in the collection.

1 comment:

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