Friday, November 28, 2008

History of Entertaining in Sub-Saharan Africa

Greenwood Press has just published (2008) an eclectic 2-volume encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining called Entertaining: From Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl. I'm happy to announce that I was invited to write a lengthy entry for Sub-Saharan Africa in it.

That section runs 10 pages (vol. 2, pp. 468-478), and begins with a quote from Chinua Achebe's classic novel Things Fall Apart, where one of the oldest members of an Ibo extended family proclaims:

"A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so."

I'm glad I was able contribute to the project, and am proud that in this encyclopedia Africa is credited alongside others at the global table. Incidentally, I do note that Achebe could have said "kinswomen" as well.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Food in Popular Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Yesterday I received my copy of the just-published Sub-Saharan Africa volume of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture, edited by Dennis Hickey, with Gary Hoppenstand the general editor of the series. I wrote the 30-page chapter on Food and Foodways, and am proud of a couple of things in it: a table (pp. 102-3) detailing well over 2 dozen carbohydrate/starch dishes by name, region, country, preparation techniques and ingredients--sadza, fufu, gari, injera, atapa, ugali, etc.--and the inclusion of some classic recipes, like mbanga soup and sukuma wiki. I am pleased they included two of my photos in the book (to the left). Unfortunately, the book is not sold individually, but if you are lucky enough to be near a school or library that buys the 6-book series (about $700 altogether), check it out! North Africa is covered in the volume North Africa and the Middle East.

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