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Stirring the Pot by Africa's art of cooking is a key part of its history. All too often Africa is associated with famine, but in Stirring the Pot, James C. McCann describes how the ingredients, the practices, and the varied tastes of African cuisine comprise a body of historically gendered knowledge practiced and perfected in households across Africa's diverse human and ecological landscape. McCann reveals how Africa's tastes and culinary practices are integral to the understanding of African history and more generally to the new literature on food as social history. Stirring the Pot offers a chronology of African cuisine beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing from Africa's original edible endowments to its globalization. McCann traces African cooks' use of new crops, spices, and tastes, including New World imports like maize, hot peppers, cassava, potatoes, tomatoes, and peanuts, as well as plantain, sugarcane, spices, Asian rice, and other ingredients from the Indian Ocean world. He analyzes recipes, not as fixed ahistorical documents, but as lively and living records of historical change in women's knowledge and farmers' experiments. A final chapter describes in sensuous detail the direct connections of African cooking to New Orleans jambalaya, Cuban rice and beans, and the cooking of Americans' "soul food." Stirring the Pot breaks new ground and makes clear the relationship between food and the culture, history, and national identity of Africans.
Publication Date: 2009-11-30
High on the Hog by Acclaimed cookbook author Jessica B. Harris has spent much of her life researching the food and foodways of the African Diaspora. High on the Hog is the culmination of years of her work, and the result is a most engaging history of African American cuisine. Harris takes the reader on a harrowing journey from Africa across the Atlantic to America, tracking the trials that the people and the food have undergone along the way. From chitlins and ham hocks to fried chicken and vegan soul, Harris celebrates the delicious and restorative foods of the African American experience and details how each came to form such an important part of African American culture, history, and identity. Although the story of African cuisine in America begins with slavery, High on the Hog ultimately chronicles a thrilling history of triumph and survival. The work of a masterful storyteller and an acclaimed scholar, Jessica B. Harris's High on the Hog fills an important gap in our culinary history. Praise for Jessica B. Harris: "Jessica Harris masters the ability to both educate and inspire the reader in a fascinating new way." -Marcus Samuelsson, chef owner of Restaurant Aquavit
Publication Date: 2011-01-04