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.
When I returned to Chicago I had great fun and good eats while attending a Nigerian, 1st birthday celebration of twins. The food was outstanding. Some of the dishes were Ewa (brown beans) with a pepper sauce, lobster stew, goat, fried fish w/sauce and egusi, a dish containing ground egusi seeds, meat, seafood and spinach. This wonderful meal was prepared by madame Florence Oriade.
A few weeks later my family and I, along with friends, celebrated Thanksgiving together. The menu included a dry rubbed, roasted beef brisket along with the traditional turkey. I promise to share my recipe for the brisket.
Early December took me to Washington, D.C. to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Friends and I attended a reception that included outstanding food, representative of the four regional cuisines offered in the Sweet Home Cafe, the museum’s restaurant. ( http://nmaahc.si.edu/visit/sweet-home-cafe ) Jazz violinist, Chelsey Green and the Green Project provided fabulous entertainment. Visit her website at http://www.chelseygreen.com to hear and learn more about this talented artist.
One week after returning from Washington, D.C. I was off to Boston to catch a connecting flight to Lisbon, Portugal and from there onto São Tomé and Principe, a small island nation off the west coast of Africa.
I’ll end my post here, but I promise to share more about my trip to Africa along with photos and recipes.
Belated HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!