Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Africa Cookbook Projects, Original and New

In my previous post I promised to share about what's happening with BETUMI's "mountain moving" projects. 

BETUMI's Original Africa Cookbook project:
In 2007 at the TED Global conference held in Arusha,
Tanzania, BETUMI launched the
Africa Cookbook Project --we now have collected well over 120 books written by Africans and published (mostly) in Africa. They range from mimeographed (yes, before the 1960s, before  photocopying or scanning, there was mimeographing) informal collections of recipes to sophisticated full-color print books. They are in English, French, Portuguese, Amharic, Malagasy. . . We have also collected dozens more cookbooks published outside of Africa and/or written by non-Africans, along with dozens of  African-food-related reference books.

The earliest books in the collection were originally published in 1933 (The Gold Coast Cookery Book,  by the Government Printing Office in Accra, reprinted in 2007 as The Ghana Cookery Book by Jeppestown Press in the U.K. AND the 1934 The Kudeti Book of Yoruba Cookery by J. A Mars & E. M. Tooleyo--we have the 3rd (Revised) Edition (1979) and the reprinted and repackaged 2002 edition, all from Lagos.

The most recently published additions are: from South Africa,  Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela's Kitchen by Xoliswa Ndoyiya with Anna Trapido, published in 2011;  from Ghana, Florence Sai's Aunty Mama's Cook Book launched in Ghana in December 2011, and from (Côte d'Ivoire (via France), Marguerite Abouet's  Délices d'Afrique, published in 2012 by Editions Alternatives.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to this project. One immediate mountain that needs moving is getting all of the books into the fledgling data base. We need help to do this. Maybe the next step after that is getting some of the earlier works digitized and available to everyone, while ensuring that there is fair compensation to authors and publishers.

The Newest Africa Cookbook project:

As many of you already know, for over a decade (when the photo on the left was taken), Barbara Baeta and Fran Osseo-Asare have been collaborating on compiling an ambitious Ghanaian cookbook designed as a basic cooking course. It will feature regional variations and step-by-step instructions for a wide range of Ghanaian recipes (roughly 150), along with Ghanaian artwork, scenic shots, and anecdotes from both of our lives. 

We're thrilled to report that in August 2013 we signed a contract with Hippocrene Books, respected for over 40 years as a publisher of ethnic cookbooks. The manuscript will be completed by the end of August 2014, and the book is expected out 9 months later, around May 2015. Thank you to all of you who have been supportive of this unfolding dream. We trust that, like all truly great things, it will prove worth the wait.

We're very excited! 

P.S. Those of you who have offered to help (or would like to)  with the final recipe testing, stay tuned. We welcome your involvement, and will soon give more details on how you can be a part of this project.