Reviewed by Stacey Dennis
A Taste of the Exotic with Familiar Ingredients
TAGS: Miriam R. Kinunda, MIROKI Publishing, Tanzania, Kenya, East Africa
Taste of Tanzania is a collection of recipes from Tanzania, Kenya and the East Coast of Africa. Organized into chapters covering traditional fare such as legumes, seafood, rice and cassava dishes, this cookbook takes the Western cook and palate through a food tour of the Tanzanian culture.
The author introduces the Western cook to Tanzanian fare by giving a brief description of the country, daily life, and the importance of food in relation to special occasions. She also details many of the most common seasonings and herbs normally used in Tanzanian dishes, and lists their names in Swahili for readers. Most of these ingredients, like ginger, turmeric, peas, and beans, can be found easily in local food markets. Other ingredients like ghee, a form of clarified butter commonly used in Indian cooking, may be found at ethnic stores like halal or Asian food markets.. Many dishes in East Africa are fairly spicy and come with a significant amount of heat, thanks to the judicious use of chili peppers. However, the author chose to temper many of these recipes and leave the addition of chili heat to the preference of the cook.
Because the ingredients in the recipes are familiar, the recipes are easy to complete. Several of the recipes were tested in a home kitchen, including the split pea soup. Readers should not be daunted by the use of dry peas in the recipe; after the peas soaked in water overnight, the dish took less than one hour to make. This book is recommended for those who desire a taste of another culture and are unsure about cooking with unfamiliar ingredients.
Stacey Dennis, MPH, is a Disease Intervention Specialist with the Baltimore City Health Department and is the founder of Whispers in My Ears, a consultancy dedicated to the expansion of the sexual health knowledge of adolescents and adults. She is also the Public Health Vice Chair for the Greater Baltimore Leadership Association of the National Urban League and President of the Tau Omega Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. A graduate of Florida State University and avowed foodie, she resides in Maryland with her son, dogs, and cat when she is not practicing yoga or traveling to her favorite places in Northern Africa.