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The Congo Cookbook  

Review by Debbie Mazo


African cuisine is diverse cooking with each region preparing traditional fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish in its own way. Featuring recipes collected by a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, the Congo Cookbook dishes up the cuisine unique to the region of Central Africa and beyond.

The second largest continent in the world, Africa is home to over fifty countries. Although most people are familiar with other regions of Africa, Central Africa is still a great mystery. With a salute to Central Africa's food and culture, the Congo Cookbook showcases the area of the Congo River that stretches for 2,900 miles and reaches into seven countries. Aimed at promoting a better understanding of the area, the Congo Cookbook offers an inside look at African food and recipes, as well as African culture, geography, and history.

Congo CookbookOne distinctive feature of African cooking is reflected in the continent's linguistic diversity. Home to hundreds of languages, but fewer food types, local dishes may have different names from one place to another. For example, a popular dish referred to as Black-Eyed Pea Fritters or Bean Croquettes in certain parts of Africa is called Akara in Central Africa.

For a taste of the resident dishes, browse the site's recipe collection listed by region, country, or ingredient. From Central Africa, sample dishes like Liboké de Viane (or Meat in Banana Leaf). In this region, meat, chicken, or fish, as well as other ingredients for making a sauce, are wrapped in banana leafs and steamed in a pot or roasted on a grill. Throughout the Congo River area, the Lingala word, Liboké, is used to refer to this method of preparation.

One of the best ways to celebrate African cuisine is by organizing an African dinner party. The Congo Cookbook serves up all the planning information you'll ever need from food ideas to room decorations. Menu tips cover everything from main course suggestions to simple crowd-pleasing fare using easy-to-find ingredients. Decorating how-to's include turning your dining room into an African paradise by hanging palm fronds over the doorways and windows. Or, use tropical fruits that grow in Africa to prepare your table.

You can dig up a lot of other African treasures at the Congo Cookbook, including a list of recommended fiction and non-fiction about Africa and an Africa geography quiz. For those who long to visit Africa, the Congo Cookbook highlights all the exotic tastes this region has to offer without even leaving your front door.


About the Writer

Debbie Mazo is a writer and editor based in Vancouver, Canada. She's been writing the NetFood Digest column for FoodWine since 1997. You can contact her at djmbc@[email-address-removed].

Copyright © 2000, Debbie Mazo. All rights reserved.


    October 2000



This page created October 2000