Final Installment to Back in the Saddle – Cruising the west coast of Africa

Botanical Gardens, Lome, Togo.
Abidjan, Ivory Coast.








A van arrived for us after our breakfast in the fabulous restaurant of the Omali Boutique in São Tomé.  I hope you visited the website through the link I provided in my last post. There was still no news of my luggage. We were driven to the dock to meet the cruise ship, Seven Seas Navigator of the Regency cruise line. The port of origin for the cruise was Capetown, South Africa. With an itinerary for 35 days, it would traverse up the west coast of Africa stopping in multiple countries, cross the Atlantic for four days, then stop in 5 Caribbean islands and end in Miami.  We would take part for 10 days.

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Back In The Saddle – Part Two

The flight from Lisbon arrived two hours later than scheduled in São Tomé.  I went to retrieve my luggage only to discover it had not arrived! Luckily I had a carry-on with toiletries and a two-day change of clothes. We were transferred to Omali São Boutique, a small, beautiful, oceanfront, boutique hotel. I decided I was not going to let lost luggage ruin my stay. Due to the late arrival and early morning departure to meet and board a cruise ship, I only took photos of our evening meal before going to bed. I hope you enjoy this link and see what a beautiful facility this is and learn a little something about São Tomé.

São Tomé and Principe islands were believed to have been originally uninhabited, were explored by Portuguese navigators in 1471 and settled by the end of the century. … The Portuguese revolution of 1974 brought the end of the overseas empire, and on July 12, 1975, Lisbon granted Sáo Tomé independence.

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Getting Back in the Saddle

I know, I know.  It’s been quite a while since my last post.  The last three months have been filled with travel, good eats, direct sales of my spice blends and handicrafts, and new knowledge. My travels have taken me to Binghampton, NY, New York City, Washington, D.C., and west Africa including the island nation of Sao Tome, Principe, and the mainland countries of Togo, Ivory Coast, and Senegal.

While in the Hamptons, I visited the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor, NY. I had never put whaling and African Americans together in my mind. While at the museum I picked-up a small book entitled “Blacks in Whaling“, FootSteps, African American History, published by Cobblestone Publishing Company

This small publication, (only 48 pages), documents the presence of African Americans in all phases of the whaling industry starting in the late 1700’s until the early 1900’s, the end of the sailing whaleship era. Quoting a passage from the book, “Whaling is still an unsung chapter in the story of African Americans’ creative survival. Seizing opportunities as they could, black men contributed significantly to the American whaling industry and – even more importantly – to the development of black society.”

I made my way to New York City down from the Hamptons to attend a family funeral service.  I had to grab a quick breakfast and so I ran across the street to a neighborhood take out serving traditional Puerto Rican food.  I ordered creamy yucca mash, roast pork (pernil) with the crispy skin, pickled red onions, and sausage all topped off with a fried egg.  Umm, Umm, Umm.

Little did I know this would be a precursor to a very similar meal in west Africa.

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Mondongo, Mofongo, Sancocho. Fufu, Cou Cou, and Tum Tum


Mondongo, Mofongo, and Sancocho are the names of a few dishes throughout the Caribbean, central, and south America. I just love the way these names roll off my tongue. Then there is fufu in Cuba, cou cou in Barbados, fungi/fungee in Antigua, and tum tum in Haiti. There is no way one can deny a connection with African languages and food ways.

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National Museum of African-American History & Culture

A feature of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the Food Ways Exhibition as part of the Cultural Expressions Gallery. The African-American community is well-known for “Soul Food”, but our contributions to American food way history is much more diverse.

On September 24th, 10 a.m. eastern time, NMAAHC’s dedication ceremony will be live-streamed via a link on the museum’s website ( Live-streaming should begin at least 10-15 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The dedication may also be televised (check your local listings).

As a way to encourage support and celebration of the new museum, NMAAHC has created a forum called “Lift Every Voice”.  I’m proud to say Africa In Our Kitchen is a registered supporter of the “Lift Every Voice” campaign. Throughout the inaugural year I will feature food related articles and events that take place at the NMAAHC as well as host events here in Chicago in celebration of this historical event.

I invite you to click on the following link for more information about the Food Ways Exhibition at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Why the African-American museum’s food focus will go beyond soul – The Washington Post

Fried Grits and Arepas


Fried grits with fried egg and cheese.
Fried grits with fried egg and cheese.

For those of you who ventured beyond my blog posts and read the “About Me” page of my website, you may recall that I didn’t grow-up eating traditional southern fare, but rather meals heavily influenced by German and Pennsylvania Dutch traditions. So when I heard the term “fried grits” I always thought it was a joke. I mean how can you fry a grit?

On my first visit to Savannah, Georgia, 14 years ago, my eyes were opened. I  was treated to a meal at an upscale restaurant that featured shrimp etouffee and fried grits. Not only were fried grits real, but they were delicious. We requested a short meeting with the chef and exclaimed how delicious the meal was and asked how did he prepare the fried grits. Continue reading “Fried Grits and Arepas”

Hibiscus Tea


20160727_132549Hibiscus tea is known by many names all around the world. The three names I’m most familiar with are Hibiscus, Bissap and Sorrel. Hibiscus is called Bissap in Senegal and it is known as Sorrel throughout the Caribbean.

I’m not a big fan of tea, especially in the summer when the temperatures are high. But when I discovered this cold brew recipe for Hibiscus tea, It became a mainstay in my fridge. Sweetened or unsweetened, it’s so refreshing and good for us too. I decided to include Hibiscus/Bissap/Sorrel Tea as a part of my Africa In Our Kitchen Spice Blends and Tea inventory.

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Association of African American Museums Conference

I’m so excited to share that Africa In Our Kitchen will be an on-site vendor at this year’s Association of African-American Museums Conference in Riverside, California.  The conference will be held at the Marriott Riverside Convention Center, 3400 Market St., August 3rd through the 5th.

I will introduce my new line of Africa In Our Kitchen Spice Blends and Tea. My hand mixed spice blends are used in many of the recipes posted on the Africa In Our Kitchen blog. I will also have available handcrafted baskets and tote bags imported from Senegal, west Africa.

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Meat Patties

Spicy meat patties are one of my favorite snack foods.  I like to make them small and serve as an appetizer.  While there are different versions through out the Caribbean islands, Jamaican beef patties are the best known around the United States and Canada. I use sofrito and adobo because they shorten the ingredient list and you have less veggies to chop.

Spicy Meat Patties Regular and Appetizer Size
Spicy Meat Patties
Regular and Appetizer Size


For more information and background on some of my favorite snacks click here to go the Snack section of the Africa In Our Kitchen website.

For the Recipe click on the “continue reading” link.


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