Tuesday, August 27, 2013

African Food! Make. This. Nowwwwww!

If I've never talked about my ever expanding family on this blog, I don't know why.  Like they say in the Bronx, "it's a movie...".  I grew up as an only child. My parents divorced while I was a toddler and my Mom raised me on her own.  My father never really looked back, wasn't involved in my life at all - so I have no memories of him.  But when I dropped out of college, I felt a compelling urge to find him.  I never did, but in that search, I found several half siblings.  So, I like to say that The Temptations lyric "papa was rolling stone, wherever he laid his hat was his home" is the tagline of our family saga.  The next part of the lyric is also true: "and when he died all he left us was alone" because I learned later that he had passed away, so I lost the chance to ever get to actually know him, and he lost the chance to ever get to know me (the same is true for the rest of my half-siblings, unfortunately).  Sob, sob... But the journey to find him opened the door to many new relatives and Facebook has made getting to know them so much easier. (The internet and social media have sort of become the answer to everything, right!?  But I digress.)  We are now 8 half siblings (with 7 different mothers), on 3 different continents...and every few years, we learn about yet another. Ugh,  I kind of hate saying that, but it's not my shame, it's his. I'll tell that story another time...

The point of all this is that, last week, a new cousin found me, so we've been chatting and catching up. He lives in Lomé (capital of Togo) and is a chef.  For a couple of years now, I've been toying with the idea of creating a West African cookbook, so chatting with him about what he was cooking today got me thinking this could be an interesting family project...  And that leads me to today's post.  One of the most delicious dishes in Togo is Chicken Peanut Sauce with rice, rice paste or fufu.....  So here's a fun video recipe.  Two beautiful things about this video:

1.  The woman is speaking in Ewe (pronounced "eh-vay"), so you get to hear the actual language of the people (French is the official  state language because of colonialism, but this is what people are speaking in their homes).
2.  It's translated into SEVENTEEN other languages via subtitles!   I love to think that so many different cultures might take an interest in tiny Togo's cuisine.  Maybe my book would do alright...!

Anyway, this is a hearty vegan (substitute chicken w/ seitan) big-pot dish that makes excellent leftovers and can be served with just about anything: starches (rice, dumplings, potatoes, couscous, pasta...), meats, veggies...  And, most importantly, it's outstandingly delicious!

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