Thursday, February 25, 2016

Big Blue Marble Bookstore Revisited

Folks have been telling me they had a great time in Philadelphia last Sunday, and I agree. Thank you to everyone who showed up. My camera got passed around a bit, but near the end of the event it stopped recording folks who came when we had standing room only. 
We began with a discussion of Akan day names, a couple of demonstrations using volunteers from the audience (how to open a coconut, how to peel a plantain and make
plantain strips/chips). 

Later, a volunteer agreed to try his hand at rolling out dough and making twisted cookies (atwemo,  atsomo).

Along the way folks sampled both the chips and the atwemo, along with hibiscus iced tea (bissap, zobo, sobolo) and ginger beer. We also talked about Ghana's answer to couscous (gari), and sampled 2 versions of a Ghanaian one-pot called gari foto (classic, with corned beef) and contemporary (vegetarian). We tasted fresh coconut, and I shared some failed "coconut cakes" that were made with too little coconut. Along the way, we discussed stories behind the cookbook, and the challenge to get it published. It was wonderful to have family support from the Philadelphia area (adopted nephews Sam and Ernest and my sister-in-law Phyllis ("Sister Amma"). Neighbors and colleagues, African friends, and other local people helped swell the crowd. As noted elsewhere, appreciation of West African cuisine is on the rise in the U.S.!

Thank you to everyone who pitched in to help with plating the food, serving, assigning day names, cleanup, etc. My sincere apologies that the bookstore did not have not enough books to go around. Remember, they are available at a discount at Amazon. Here are a few more photos:

Next event? At the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference in Los Angeles in early April. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

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