Friday, January 27, 2017

Over 1,000,000 hits and A gift to my friends

I just sat down at the computer this afternoon, January 27, and see Betumiblog has just passed the one million visit mark (1,000,408 at 5 pm, EST) since we started counting visits. It's a milestone and I'm grateful.

I'd like to say "thank you" to the folks who've supported this site over the years, and just thought of a way. Several of you have already asked how you could get your copy (or a copy you want to give as a gift) of The Ghana Cookbook autographed by both Barbara and me.

When we published The Ghana Cookbook in November, 2015, I was still in the U.S. and Barbara was in Ghana, but we managed to both sign 50 book plates for the book.

In honor of Black History Month, Valentine's Day, and surpassing the 1,000,000 visit mark, I'd like to give them away to the first 50 people who send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope and proof that they've already purchased the cookbook, or ordered it. One per person, please.

You can send them to:
Fran Osseo-Asare
P.O. Box 222
State College, PA 16804  USA

Be sure to enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope (you can email me any photos of you with the book or a receipt to if you like). For any of you outside of North America, I'll not expect you to include a stamped envelope, but do include a self-addressed one.

Please tell your friends, as I expect the book plates will go pretty quickly. After all, The Ghana Cookbook is, according to Jessica Harris, "destined to become an African culinary classic" and chef Pierre Thiam calls it "the definitive Ghana cookbook."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1,000,000 visits and a call for an African Culinary Association

Did you know that "BETUMI" was originally called "Ananse's Web" back in the 1990s? To the right is a screen shot from an early Dreamweaver version of this "online newsletter and
forum." In 2005 BETUMI began what I believe were the first African food podcasts, and quickly branched out to videos. Today , BETUMI can be found on facebook, youtube, twitter, and instagram. Oh, and there have been a few books, too (A Good Soup Attracts Chairs (only the hardback version is recommended), Food Culture of Sub-Saharan Africa, and The Ghana Cookbook [with Barbara Baeta]), plus numerous articles and chapters.

I began counting visits to BETUMI: the African Culinary Network  a few years ago. BETUMI was not  a "big name." I taught myself to make a very simple, basic website and start an online "journal" (this was before blogging).   "African Food Culture" was not a trendy topic--it was not even on the horizon. BETUMI was not a money-making venture, just a voice crying out in the culinary wilderness. 

In the 20 years between 1997 and 2017, the scenery has changed dramatically. Hurray! The world is finally paying serious attention to Africa's culinary legacy and innovations. There are myriad African voices now claiming and celebrating their African heritage and educating others. From Senegal's Pierre Thiam to Nigeria's Ozoz Sokoh and Zimbabwean Cordialis Chipo, to name just a few, there is a flood of interest in learning  what  Africa, including sub-Saharan Africa, has to offer beyond North African or Ethiopian dishes (not that those aren't wonderful and noteworthy).

Glancing at my visitor count today, I see that people still come to Betumiblog: the counter showed 999,182  combined visits to and betumiblog.  Only 818 more visits to make it to a million. It makes me happy to have been a part of this burgeoning awareness of and interest in African cuisine. Thank you all for your support, and I pledge to continue to support you.

Here's to another 20 years of growth! I'd love to see an African-based culinary organization emerge. A kind of "African Association of Culinary Professionals," that includes chefs, African food writers and bloggers, caterers, restauranteurs, farmers, food processors, teachers, scholars, manufacturers, etc. It could provide a unifying industry voice. What do you think?

Monday, January 23, 2017

1 year anniversary

Happy 2017! 

As you may have noticed, we have been silent online at Betumi: the African Culinary Network for the last 7+ months.

Our life has been anything but quiet: after the excitement and drama of The Ghana Cookbook's debut at the end of 2015, followed by  a flurry of travel (Ghana, Brazil, and back to Ghana), we (Kwadwo and I) returned to our U.S. home in early August to discover a broken water hose had been flooding much of the house for over 2 months. The house was a disaster, and had to be gutted, remediated, and rebuilt.


We spent months cooking  in a microwave in our upstairs bathroom and eating on a card table in our upstairs bedroom while the restoration of offices, the laundry/mud room, kitchen, dining room, and much of the basement continued. It was a difficult time, compounded by a car accident and cancer scare.

On top of everything else, there was the US election, which was its own story.

As of Friday, January 20th, the green dumpster has  finally been removed, the last worker packed up his tools, and I'm back at my computer.  Let me belatedly remind everyone how thrilled Barbara and I have been at the reception of The Ghana Cookbook, and how pleased we were to have it awarded the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for the "Best African Cookbook Published Outside of Africa." Thank you for all the word-of-mouth marketing that has kept it on Amazon's African cookbook best-seller list throughout 2016 and into 2017.

What lies ahead in this new year? I plan to first share some interesting conversations I had in Ghana with a couple of young entrepreneurs from Ghana's Ashesi University.