Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Question #10: Where can I go to learn more about (or taste) authentic African cuisine?

In April I posed 10 questions about African cuisine, and today I'll begin to tackle the last one, which is how to learn more about African food, or where to go to taste it. There are many pieces to the answer to Question #10, and many places to learn about and eat African cuisine. A quickie first step is to find some African cooking classes. This is not likely to be at any culinary institutes, since I am not aware of any schools where African cuisine is part of the mainstream curriculum (though I'd love to be corrected here).

Also, culinary tourism and the opportunity to take short culinary classes in Africa is almost nonexistent, apart perhaps from Northern and Southern Africa. There are many online videos, some free and some not (and of widely varying quality), websites, and books. My favorite way is to make friends with Africans and have them teach you or eat at their homes, or visit restaurants (if you live in a big city), or attend cultural festivals. I'll write more about all of these later.

For now, you may have noticed I've fallen off on posting recipes from the Ghanaian cookbook these past 2 weeks. That's because I've been busy teaching classes and doing presentations, which will continue at least through October. I'll post new recipes as I'm able.

However, I've had several requests for information about the classes I'm currently teaching. Last
week it was a cooking class on North African (Moroccan) cooking and a demonstration class on West African (Ghanaian) food and culture. This week it's Eastern African (focus on Ethiopia), with classes on West and Southern African food and culture in upcoming weeks. If anyone or any groups within range of central PA (State College) would like more information, or to arrange a custom class (either here or where you are), I'd be happy to work with you. Here's a summary of the next few classes, each of which are held in my home from 6-9:30 p.m. and are $50:

Thursday, September 24: East Africa--includes tej (honey wine), injera (traditional flatbread crepe) and doro wat (chicken stew with eggs), gomen wat (chard stew), kik alecha (pureed bean stew), lab (Ethiopian-style cheese), Ethiopian coffee.

Wednesday, September 30: West Africa--includes bissap (hibiscus iced tea), beef chichinga (West African kebab with a spicy rub), ginger beer, green plantain chips, palaver sauce with African yam, groundnut soup and omo tuo (rice balls), tropical fruit salad with coconut and “twisted cakes.”

Thursday, October 8: Southern Africa—includes South African wine, shrimp
peri peri, samp and beans with tomato bredie, curry and rice, and melktert (milk tart).

If anyone else is currently teaching African cooking classes, or would like to recommend resources, please let me know and I'll be thrilled to post that information here.

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