When a book stands out amongst its competition, namely the Kennedy’s Safari Guides for East Africa, and Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s An African Love Story, I love doing a review post. But A Taste of Africa, the African recipes book reviewed in this post, has no real competition. It’s such a brilliant idea and one that I wish I’d thought of.
But I didn’t.
Instead, throughout my thirty years of living and traveling in Africa, I’ve enthusiastically copied down African recipes after finishing yet another delicious African cooked meal. On my return home to America I found that my scribbled notes (recipes) from the chefs were missing key ingredients (purposeful or not I will never know) and measurements. Requiring a dab of this, a pinch of that, or a cup of an ingredient that is impossible to find in America, never allowed me to quite match the flavors I had hoped to duplicate from meals at my favorite African camps and lodges.
Now, thanks to my colleague Sandy Salle, a native Zimbabwean and the author of A Taste Of Africa, I can finally throw away my useless scribbled African recipe notes and return to my beloved Africa during any meal of the week.
Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten have been in the African Bush despite the fact that bush kitchens are not much more than a camp fire under a thatched or canvas roof. One memorable dinner of fresh bread and meat stew was cooked in a potje pot (a three legged cast iron pot) in a sand pit in the ground under the vast Africa night sky. I lugged one of the fifteen-pound pots from Zimbabwe home to America planning on using some of my ‘recipes’ but the pot sat unused for years, until finding a spot on my fireplace hearth. (If you have a favorite African recipe memory, tell us about it in the comments below.)
My taste buds are dancing
Although some of the recipes in A Taste of Africa can be cooked in a potje, all of the recipes are from 5 star lodges and kitchens where chefs prepare sophisticated dishes with influences from the Dutch, German, French and English. You will recognize many of the dishes but be surprised by the added unique twists to the ingredient list such as lemon for French Toast, a Caprese Salad with Papaya, or Rooibos-Scented Quinoa. See one of the books African recipes for yourself: this lamb and butternut squash tagine from Botswana’s Camp Kalahari is wonderful.
I was happy to see the book includes one of my favorite popular South African tea-time snacks. A rusk is a cross between a biscotti and a scone, and I ‘ve never found anything similar in America.
A Taste of Africa is an African recipe book and travel guide rolled into one. Descriptions and photos (alongside the recipes) from lodges in seven of the best wildlife viewing countries in all of Africa will delight more than your taste buds.
To get your taste buds (and other senses) dancing, purchase A Taste of Africa through their website.