Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mama's Choice Fufu Flour

One of the ongoing dilemmas for those outside of Africa is how to reproduce "homestyle" flavor. Last February I mentioned Elisha P. Renne's article in American Anthropologist: "Mass Producing Food Traditions for West Africans Abroad (Dec. 2007, Vol 109, Issue 4, pp 616-625).

For many Ghanaians, soup and fufu is a classic meal in their culinary repertoire. In April, 2006 I posted a blog about and interview with a Ghanaian chemical engineer living in New Jersey, Dr. George (Yaw) Adusei. Dr. Adusei set out to develop a high quality fufu flour in the U.S., using plantain, cassava (manioc), and cocoyam (taro) imported from Ghana. I recently received several boxes of his improved fufu powder requesting me to taste test them and give him feedback.

He has, among other things, changed the design of his boxes and added vitamins and minerals to the plantain fufu flour. One of the things I like about Mama's Choice flour is that in Ghana there is often the issue of quality control. I trust that Dr. Adusei has had his nutritional facts tested by a reputable independent lab, and the portion sizes, calories, etc. make sense, which is not always true with the numbers on boxes from Ghana. Also, I know that he is working to limit and/or eliminate the use of preservatives in his flour.

I like the taste and texture of his product (second only to freshly pounded fufu), though it does seem that the plantain fufu may take a little more water and a few minutes longer in the microwave to cook than the previous brand I was using.

Mama's Choice is the new kid on the block. As a relatively new, small, independent company, it faces a huge challenge in developing its market share in a field currently dominated by a couple of well-known brands and distributors. I encourage you to check out Mama's Choice fufu if you see it in stores, or request that your suppliers order some and give it a chance.

More information is available from George Adusei of Adusei Corporation via e-mail at, by phone at 908-757-7530, or on the web at or Mama's Choice is also available in Ghana. Call 024 444 9440/ 0234 468 3147 or 024 440 1098.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

African Culinary Entrepreneurs

I just discovered the site of Yeti Ezeanii, a West African transplanted to the U.S. who shares the vision to meet the acute need for quality African culinary videos. Her website
includes recipes and demonstrations of North, South, East and West African dishes in what I assume is her pleasant, well-equipped kitchen in Atlanta, Georgia. Her on-camera style is friendly, fun, and relaxed, and she is comfortable and confident as she adapts classic African recipes to Western kitchens. Be patient and give the videos time to download and you're in for a good time.

Just remember if you begin comparing different African videos, the continent is huge, and just as there isn't a single way to prepare chili or spaghetti, there are innumerable variations of all the classic African dishes.

Everywhere I turn, there are enterprising African culinary innovators from Africa like Yeti. I often feature them in this blog (like chemical engineer
Yaw Adusei and his fufu flour or Cameroonian Julie Ndjee and her husband Albert and their "Neilly's Ultimate Seasoning".) There's also Tomilola Awoniyi, a woman I learned about through Bola Olabisi, herself an innovator embodying the whole idea of "betumi power" behind this blog and founder of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network as well as the Nigerian Female Inventor and Innovator of the Year Awards). In 2004 Tomilola Awoniyi won the first Nigerian Female Inventor & Innovator of the Year Award for her LIZVIC Special PAP (ogi) a type of nutritious maize breakfast cereal she developed out of necessity.

I met several more culinary innovators in Ghana last June, and I'll feature them in another blog soon. Please let me know about others!

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