Here’s an entry I posted on africaontheblog the other day, entitled “The Afrocentic Diet”.
For those of you out there who know me and what I am like when I am relaxing at home, you will know very well that one of my favourite pass times is cooking. I have decided to shift gears a little bit and share more about my love of cooking… and eating. It is a very safe topic for me to blog about and will ensure I stay out of trouble… for a little while at least.
Well, I went completely tomato crazy this week when I suddenly decided that I just had to get my hands on red, orange and yellow tomatoes. Read here to see where I found them.
Now that I finally had them, almost 3 kilo grams of them, I realised I had to put them to good use. I will share what I made with the tomatoes over a series of posts on my blog, where you can view all the steps in photos. I have made pasta sauces and followed a recipe inspired by a celebrity chef, but I will reserve the recipes with the African flavour for Africaontheblog.
As I write, I have to ask myself, “What makes a dish Afrocentric?” I think there are 2 answers to that question. The first is that we will always get the very traditional meals which are authentically linked to a country or region. Meals like jollof (Nigeria), fufu (Ghana), ugali (Uganda: the widely eaten African white polenta if you like), guru ne matumbu (Zimbabwe) and seswaa (Botswana). The second factor which makes a meal Afrocentric is the actual ingredients. Ofcourse our standard onion and tomato based stews could easily be Italian, but what makes it different is what we add, and perhaps, as a third factor, how we present and eat the dish.
Included in my recipes reserved for AOTB are dishes made with ingredients such as Palm Oil, scotch bonnet chillies, goat and other key ingredients I will share as I cook.
Just as an aside, Palm Oil for one, is a very unique ingredient. And I am talking about palm oil in its natural unrefined state, where it is red in colour. This is very different to the palm oil which has been exported out of Malaysia and Indonesia as one of the world’s cheapest vegetable oils; a highly sought after commodity, and widely used in soaps, cosmetics and confectionary. The high demand and production of this refined, deodorised and bleached form of palm oil has been viewed as unsustainable and damaging to the environment, its impacts include: deforestation, habitat loss of critically endangered species such as the Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger, and a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. (source: Wikipedia)
But back to my palm oil; red and with a distinct smokey smell in its natural unrefined state. This is what I am growing to love and appreciate about nutrition from “back home.” The afrocentric diet is filled with natural and unrefined ingredients. You seldom hear of surgery ingredients, highly refined grains and processed foods as part of our staple diet. There is certainly something to be said about this, and I wonder whether we can teach the world about a better way to eat. I will explore this as well on my blog.
Until the next post, please tell me “What makes a dish Afrocentric” for you?
Follow this link for photos giving you a sneak preview of the recipes coming your way.