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In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean [A Cookbook]

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Grandmothers from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition in this transporting cookbook-meets-travelogue. In this incredible volume, renowned food writer Julia Turshen and Somali chef Hawa Hassan present 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight Af Grandmothers from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition in this transporting cookbook-meets-travelogue. In this incredible volume, renowned food writer Julia Turshen and Somali chef Hawa Hassan present 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African nations: South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea. Most notably, these eight countries are at the backbone of the spice trade, many of them exporters of things like pepper and vanilla. We meet women such as Ma Shara, who helps tourists "see the real Zanzibar" by teaching them how to make her famous Ajemi Bread with Carrots and Green Pepper; Ma Vicky, a real-life princess from Tanzania, who now lives in suburban New York and makes a mean Matoke (Stewed Plantains with Beans and Beef); and Somalia's Ashura Babu-Bi Ashura, widow to Abdulrahman Babu, the late Zanzibari Marxist and revolutionary leader, known for her Samaki Wa Kupaka (Coconut Fish Curry). Through Julia and Hawa's writing--and their own personal stories--the women, and the stories behind the recipes, come to life. With evocative photography shot on location by Khadija Farah, and food photography by Jennifer May, In Bibi's Kitchen uses food to teach us all about families, war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary.


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Grandmothers from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition in this transporting cookbook-meets-travelogue. In this incredible volume, renowned food writer Julia Turshen and Somali chef Hawa Hassan present 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight Af Grandmothers from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition in this transporting cookbook-meets-travelogue. In this incredible volume, renowned food writer Julia Turshen and Somali chef Hawa Hassan present 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African nations: South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea. Most notably, these eight countries are at the backbone of the spice trade, many of them exporters of things like pepper and vanilla. We meet women such as Ma Shara, who helps tourists "see the real Zanzibar" by teaching them how to make her famous Ajemi Bread with Carrots and Green Pepper; Ma Vicky, a real-life princess from Tanzania, who now lives in suburban New York and makes a mean Matoke (Stewed Plantains with Beans and Beef); and Somalia's Ashura Babu-Bi Ashura, widow to Abdulrahman Babu, the late Zanzibari Marxist and revolutionary leader, known for her Samaki Wa Kupaka (Coconut Fish Curry). Through Julia and Hawa's writing--and their own personal stories--the women, and the stories behind the recipes, come to life. With evocative photography shot on location by Khadija Farah, and food photography by Jennifer May, In Bibi's Kitchen uses food to teach us all about families, war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary.

30 review for In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean [A Cookbook]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandra The Old Woman in a Van

    I include cookbooks in my “books read” list if I read them from cover to cover. Well, I devoured this book. It is rare I find a cookbook where I want to make EVERYTHING. This is one. I’m familiar with some of the food, especially the Eritrean, Somali and Kenyan dishes. I lived in Kenya for a while and have travelled extensively in Ethiopia and eat at Ethiopian/Eritrean and Somali restaurants in the US, so many recipes from the Horn of Africa were a little familiar. The rest of the 8 total East A I include cookbooks in my “books read” list if I read them from cover to cover. Well, I devoured this book. It is rare I find a cookbook where I want to make EVERYTHING. This is one. I’m familiar with some of the food, especially the Eritrean, Somali and Kenyan dishes. I lived in Kenya for a while and have travelled extensively in Ethiopia and eat at Ethiopian/Eritrean and Somali restaurants in the US, so many recipes from the Horn of Africa were a little familiar. The rest of the 8 total East African countries covered in the book had new, but delicious sounding recipes. I do want to prepare and eat every recipe in the cookbook. What I particularly like about the book is the author put together recipes that can be made in an American kitchen, with ingredients you can find in most large cities or on-line. None are overly complicated for an experienced cook, and many are amenable to a novice cook. This book fills a huge gap in cuisines accessible to Americans. I strongly recommend this book to home cooks wanting some novelty. The back stories throughout the book detail the lives and upbringings of grandmothers who provided the recipes. This was a perfect accompaniment to the recipes and gives the reader a tangible connection to the foods described.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    I was extremely excited for this book. Smitten Kitchen highly recommended it and said it was the stories of grandmothers cooking without modern measuring techniques but out of the palm of their hand, like my Grandma Winberg used to bake her bread! It was immediately intriguing to me. Look at the cover, it’s gorgeous! I do not fault the grandmothers, I think the interviewers fell extremely flat. It was like reading work sheets that had been begrudgingly filled out. It felt forced and not at all a I was extremely excited for this book. Smitten Kitchen highly recommended it and said it was the stories of grandmothers cooking without modern measuring techniques but out of the palm of their hand, like my Grandma Winberg used to bake her bread! It was immediately intriguing to me. Look at the cover, it’s gorgeous! I do not fault the grandmothers, I think the interviewers fell extremely flat. It was like reading work sheets that had been begrudgingly filled out. It felt forced and not at all a living, breathing, fun conversation we have all had many times in a kitchen with friends and family, and, as women, with other women. Two women went and interviewed the women featured, all grandmothers from 8 African countries on the east of Africa: Eritrea, Somalia, Zanzibar, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar and Comoros, extremely exciting places! I could smell the cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and ylang ylang! This was going to be great! Yet, all I learned the social studies textbook aspects of the country, which was something, because for many, I knew next to nothing about. That was helpful but that’s where it stopped. The subtitle is: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers From the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean. “Stories” is a big stretch, it was Q and A in the fashion of a 5th grader geography/ home ec class assignment. Overall, I think the idea was extremely fascinating but their format was quite the opposite. They made the point to go on about their, the two authors lives, for 2 cookbook pages, and then A Bit More about Us for 4 MORE long, big cookbook pages. I felt they were more concerned about laying out they were “qualified” to do this book more than conveying the life and times and traditions and describing the food they ate in community with these women. You know Anthony Bourdain style. I also found their American feminist agenda was just not carried out well nor accepted in these African women’s life stories because of religious beliefs, available resources and generational and cultural clashes. Also, making the book solely put together by ONLY women was just overblown and pretentious. Having a Muslim woman photographer was however thoughtful and nice though. I often wondered during the reading of this if they just used the women to get there traditional recipes!? Harsh, yes, but it just seemed like an assignment and not like true interest or passion, because there was little passion and imagination in questions for these women! These women probably had some fantastic and thought provoking stories to tell. This book was far too concerned with community and women’s rights but lacked the fellowship needed for heart and soul of these women to come out. I was left terribly wanting. I hope someone goes back there to those same women and opens them up to the stories that were left untold. I have not tried any of the recipes but I’m looking forward to trying them!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Reading Fool

    "Bibi" means grandmother, and this book pays homage to these grandmothers and their kitchens, where they keep their cultures alive. This book is a collection of stories and recipes from eight African countries that border the Indian Ocean: Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Comoros. To be honest, I have read and studied this book to date more than I have used the recipes (I've tried a couple). I was fascinated by the stories and interviews that were a wi "Bibi" means grandmother, and this book pays homage to these grandmothers and their kitchens, where they keep their cultures alive. This book is a collection of stories and recipes from eight African countries that border the Indian Ocean: Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Comoros. To be honest, I have read and studied this book to date more than I have used the recipes (I've tried a couple). I was fascinated by the stories and interviews that were a window to these women's cultures, and of course I discovered that in many ways they are not that different from western culture in terms of the value and importance of family and tradition. From this book I have prepared Bariis (a Somalian rice pilaf) and Quick Stewed Eggplant with Coconut (recipe from Zanzibar). Both were delicious and quite accessible. I look forward to trying the Malva Pudding Cake, a cake similar to a tres leches cake, which my family loves. I've received a free copy from Ten Speed Press in exchange for a free and unbiased review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Loved this! Not only is this the first African cookbook I've thought I could actually pull off in the Midwest, but the stories of the grandmothers and the info on each country were just amazing and made this fun to read as well. Another best cookbook of the year contender for me! Highly recommended. Loved this! Not only is this the first African cookbook I've thought I could actually pull off in the Midwest, but the stories of the grandmothers and the info on each country were just amazing and made this fun to read as well. Another best cookbook of the year contender for me! Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Lafferty

    This is so much more than a cookbook. It is a sharing of stories and lived experience across generations and miles. I highly recommend it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lannie

    I’m not a cookbook person, but this book felt more like an homage to African heritage and culture of 8 African countries in the form of home grown recipes from the family matriarch: the grandmothers. The photographs are gorgeous and add to the immersive experience. I really enjoyed how the authors centered the book not around the recipes, but around the bibis (grandmas) that these recipes came from. The chapters start with the bibis and their interview, only then followed by their family recipe. I’m not a cookbook person, but this book felt more like an homage to African heritage and culture of 8 African countries in the form of home grown recipes from the family matriarch: the grandmothers. The photographs are gorgeous and add to the immersive experience. I really enjoyed how the authors centered the book not around the recipes, but around the bibis (grandmas) that these recipes came from. The chapters start with the bibis and their interview, only then followed by their family recipe. No glitz or flash, just the beautiful meat and bones of their meal. It was clear the authors made conscious decisions to avoid co-opting someone else’s culture through the author’s own lens. A short intro of the African country also illuminates the history of each place and how certain flavors came to be staples in each region. Beautiful way to showcase each country and show African countries are not a monolith. Lovely to see a book by women and about women, focused on women and their role (and hence power) in their communities. Pleasantly surprised by this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashani

    This book is a jewel and a heartfelt ode to African Cuisine. For every cook, cooking is personal. These stories of Bibis’(meaning grandmothers) span generations !!! Africa as a region,countries as a collective, have offered so much more(wild life,human evolution,human civilization and great leaders) than food. But it's time we look for their beautiful food. The author collects recipes from 8 countries facing Indian Ocean. Starting from Eritrea,Somalia,Kenya,Tanzania and Zanzibar . Then goes to Mo This book is a jewel and a heartfelt ode to African Cuisine. For every cook, cooking is personal. These stories of Bibis’(meaning grandmothers) span generations !!! Africa as a region,countries as a collective, have offered so much more(wild life,human evolution,human civilization and great leaders) than food. But it's time we look for their beautiful food. The author collects recipes from 8 countries facing Indian Ocean. Starting from Eritrea,Somalia,Kenya,Tanzania and Zanzibar . Then goes to Mozambique,South Africa,Madagascar and Comoros. I admire how the author assures and affirms confidence to anyone who want cook African food(as an avid foodie I have cooked Doro Wat with Moroccan bread M’smen;that’s the only dish I have cooked in African Cuisine),its very easy and ingredients we should look for are already in our pantry or found at the local grocery store. Hawa has been a global citizen and that’s where this beautiful encouragement comes from ! Each chapter starts with a beautiful prologue about each country’s geography and climate,its economy,people,languages and religion. Then you will venture on to each Bibis(each being addressed as Ma)with their personal stories and where they live now(all over the world!!) and how they still “wing” African food,especially residing out of their homelands. I can’t imagine some drastic situations they’ve been under(Civil wars one after another,family separations),but still carry heart and soul devoted to their motherlands. Most of us want to bury our pasts,but these Bibis don’t stress these situations,but excels and embraces. Their kindness is so powerful….. It radiates through each story and overflows with food and recipes. The pages are filled with beautiful food photography that I want to dig in,right away !!! This book changed my perceptions(news,novels and movies;honestly !!!!) about African countries I’ve heard all my life. These countries have so much to offer and food has strong foundations and looks so promisingly delicious !!! This book is a keeper !!! I’ve received a free copy from Ten Speed in exchange for a free and unbiased review. Thank you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This cookbook is unusual in that it contains not only recipes, but the stories of the bibis (grandmothers) who provided them. They are traditional recipes from eight East African nations that all touch the Indian Ocean: Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Comoros. There is historical and geographical information about each country, plus stories of the women themselves. It is a fascinating look at that part of Africa through the lens of food. Whether one t This cookbook is unusual in that it contains not only recipes, but the stories of the bibis (grandmothers) who provided them. They are traditional recipes from eight East African nations that all touch the Indian Ocean: Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Comoros. There is historical and geographical information about each country, plus stories of the women themselves. It is a fascinating look at that part of Africa through the lens of food. Whether one tries the food or not, this book makes for good reading. (Also has great pictures.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book isn't just a collection of recipes. Each woman featured is interviewed about her life and how food relates to her life and her culture. Some of these women are living in their homelands and some are living elsewhere. Each of them feels a strong connection to the country of their birth through the food that they serve to their families. I liked the idea of featuring countries in East Africa that border the Indian Ocean and whose histories involve the spice trade. Several of the countri This book isn't just a collection of recipes. Each woman featured is interviewed about her life and how food relates to her life and her culture. Some of these women are living in their homelands and some are living elsewhere. Each of them feels a strong connection to the country of their birth through the food that they serve to their families. I liked the idea of featuring countries in East Africa that border the Indian Ocean and whose histories involve the spice trade. Several of the countries have similar recipes, such as for flatbreads or potato and bean mashes, but it is interesting to see each cook's take on these staples. So far I've made two different drinks featured in the book. I made the Rum with Homemade Berry Soda from Mozambique and the Iced Rooibos Tea with Orange, Cloves, and Cinnamon from South Africa. Both of those were very tasty. However, they are just time consuming enough that I don't see myself making them often. I also have my eye on the Zanzibar Pilau which is a rice pilaf style dish from Tanzania. That is a very simple rice dish made with spices and coconut milk. It could be topped all types of vegetable main courses. This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  10. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodman

    I love the cover of this cookbook. Something that is hard to come by in the pandemic is a communal activity, even one that is so inherently communal as food preparation. My husband and I have often parallel cooked, where we are both in the kitchen at the same time, but not making a common dish. For many years we rarely crossed over into the realm of the other. I make soup and vegetable sides and pasta, and he makes meat main courses and rice and bread. I made the dessert more often than not. Now I love the cover of this cookbook. Something that is hard to come by in the pandemic is a communal activity, even one that is so inherently communal as food preparation. My husband and I have often parallel cooked, where we are both in the kitchen at the same time, but not making a common dish. For many years we rarely crossed over into the realm of the other. I make soup and vegetable sides and pasta, and he makes meat main courses and rice and bread. I made the dessert more often than not. Now we change it up ever so little, with he making dessert more often than I these days and I occasionally venturing into the realm of incorporating meat into a dish, but other than things that we fill, like dumplings and egg rolls and tamales, we rarely make things together. Still, I like this idea of shared preparation, where many hands doing a tedious task makes it go faster. This cookbook covers the food of the eight African countries that touch the Indian Ocean which are Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, and South Africa. So far I have been reading the stories that accompany each section and have been largely stuck in Somalia recipe-wise, but it is a beautiful cookbook that will likely broaden your palate as well as what you know.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maria Cloos

    This is precisely what I want in a cookbook. I love that they didn’t just write down the recipes and leave it at that. They included a nice introduction to each area, which helped to give an idea of what life is like there. We got to meet grandmothers from each country, who provided a backbone for the book that is a wonderful insight into the cultures and food identity each of them felt was indicative to their countries. There’s a great sense of humor occasionally as well. For example, in one pa This is precisely what I want in a cookbook. I love that they didn’t just write down the recipes and leave it at that. They included a nice introduction to each area, which helped to give an idea of what life is like there. We got to meet grandmothers from each country, who provided a backbone for the book that is a wonderful insight into the cultures and food identity each of them felt was indicative to their countries. There’s a great sense of humor occasionally as well. For example, in one paragraph they mentioned the remains of a hominid from a million years ago, and in the next paragraph, they began with, “Skipping over a few decades...”. Haha, such lovely understatement. As for the recipes themselves, they are clearly and concisely written, with notes for substitutions in case you don’t have access to an ingredient where you live. I’m very much looking forward to trying these in my own kitchen. Lastly, the book itself is lovely. The writing is interspersed with pictures of enticing food and beautiful grandmothers, all of whom make you long for the sort of hug only a grandmother can provide, or if that’s not possible, then the next best thing: her amazing food!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Hell yeah this rocks, I'll be buying my own copy. It's a pretty book, I wish I could kick it with all the bibis, and it has a decent little overview of all the countries included in case you don't know much about them. I never thought about making these types of food because of limited exposure and injera seemed like a whole process that I can just get as takeout. But a lot of this, at least how it seems here (with a western kitchen with gadgets!) is pretty straightforward and I don't think I sa Hell yeah this rocks, I'll be buying my own copy. It's a pretty book, I wish I could kick it with all the bibis, and it has a decent little overview of all the countries included in case you don't know much about them. I never thought about making these types of food because of limited exposure and injera seemed like a whole process that I can just get as takeout. But a lot of this, at least how it seems here (with a western kitchen with gadgets!) is pretty straightforward and I don't think I saw any ingredients that would be difficult to get. I have a weird diet so often cookbooks are very hit or miss but as someone who avoids gluten, eggs, and a lot of dairy this was great. There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian options too. I thought it was funny salt cod and pasta made an appearance as I recently read a southern Italian cookbook where both were featured in similar recipes but I guess that's how colonialism works 🥴

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth Robinson-Kinney

    I had high expectations going into reading this cookbook, and I'm happy to report that In Bibi's Kitchen exceeded them. This cookbook is a delight in every way. Do yourself a favor and read it cover to cover. The context is just as important as the food itself, which is perhaps just as it should be. The book features the cuisines of the African countries that touch the Indian ocean around the horn. Each section is organized by country, and includes interviews with women from those countries. The I had high expectations going into reading this cookbook, and I'm happy to report that In Bibi's Kitchen exceeded them. This cookbook is a delight in every way. Do yourself a favor and read it cover to cover. The context is just as important as the food itself, which is perhaps just as it should be. The book features the cuisines of the African countries that touch the Indian ocean around the horn. Each section is organized by country, and includes interviews with women from those countries. The interviews and photographs are beautiful. The recipes in each section are straightforward and thoughtfully designed to be executed in a home kitchen. There is a drink for each section, and many of the recipes are vegan. The food is nutritious and often simple, but exciting to cook nonetheless. As the authors note, there aren't many cookbooks featuring these cuisines, and there certainly aren't many as beautifully executed as this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Nothing makes me happier than when what I make looks like the picture in the cookbook. Huzzah! I was able to accomplish this feat with the Date Bread, the Shaah Cadays (Somali chai) and the Bolo Polana (potato and cashew cake). To top it off they all tasted as good as they looked. In Bibi's Kitchen is a wonderful book that celebrates the cooking of grandmothers (bibis) from 8 countries that border the Indian Ocean. History, culture, geography and climate intersect in each recipe. The interviews wi Nothing makes me happier than when what I make looks like the picture in the cookbook. Huzzah! I was able to accomplish this feat with the Date Bread, the Shaah Cadays (Somali chai) and the Bolo Polana (potato and cashew cake). To top it off they all tasted as good as they looked. In Bibi's Kitchen is a wonderful book that celebrates the cooking of grandmothers (bibis) from 8 countries that border the Indian Ocean. History, culture, geography and climate intersect in each recipe. The interviews with the bibis round out the book and make it a wonderful accompaniment to my afternoon snack and tea. The layout is good...most recipes are complete on 1 page or 2 facing pages and include a photo. For my middle aged eyes, I would prefer that the ingredients lists were in bold. Also, weighted measurements are preferred for more accurate measuring. If these bibis are anything like my grandmother, this request would probably be met with astonishment - "You just know how much to use."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jo-anne

    Black History month finds me stretching my understanding of lives my white upbringing has not exposed me to. Much of it is painful learning, but this book is absolute delight. In it are the recipes and stories that honour the matriarchs from 8 African countries that touch the Indian Ocean. “It’s also a collection of stories about war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary. It’s a book about families and their connections to home.” Who knew there is the country of Comoros and that Italian settle Black History month finds me stretching my understanding of lives my white upbringing has not exposed me to. Much of it is painful learning, but this book is absolute delight. In it are the recipes and stories that honour the matriarchs from 8 African countries that touch the Indian Ocean. “It’s also a collection of stories about war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary. It’s a book about families and their connections to home.” Who knew there is the country of Comoros and that Italian settlers left behind a pasta culture in Eritrea & Somalia. Not me! The authors feel that food connects the dots of different cultures & that home cooking is where culture is created & sustained. Lots of vegan recipes for me and others for the omnivores in my family. Learning through food suits me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sameera Hassan

    This (cook)book is simply beautiful. It pays homage to the Bibi's ('Grandmother' in Swahili) around the world and the culture and tradition that they bring to the kitchen. Much of African tradition across countries is passed down verbally, so this book is a wonderful documentation of culture and tastes. One of the best aspects of this book is the background and history provided for each of the 8 featured East African countries - another nod to the immense respect and reverence with which this bo This (cook)book is simply beautiful. It pays homage to the Bibi's ('Grandmother' in Swahili) around the world and the culture and tradition that they bring to the kitchen. Much of African tradition across countries is passed down verbally, so this book is a wonderful documentation of culture and tastes. One of the best aspects of this book is the background and history provided for each of the 8 featured East African countries - another nod to the immense respect and reverence with which this book was written. I cannot wait to dive into the recipes and absorb each interview to paint a fuller picture of realities that many will never get a chance to experience firsthand. Kudos to all involved in this timeless project! <3

  17. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Marie

    What an amazing concept for a cookbook! I felt so educated by the time I’d flipped through it all. I made three recipes already and they were unbelievably simple and delicious. My only “ding” is that the interviews could’ve been formatted better. I didn’t find that they highlighted the women’s stories properly—as in, I didn’t find them that interesting but I wanted to. I don’t know if the question-and-answer format was a win in that regard. But I do completely respect the desire to leave these w What an amazing concept for a cookbook! I felt so educated by the time I’d flipped through it all. I made three recipes already and they were unbelievably simple and delicious. My only “ding” is that the interviews could’ve been formatted better. I didn’t find that they highlighted the women’s stories properly—as in, I didn’t find them that interesting but I wanted to. I don’t know if the question-and-answer format was a win in that regard. But I do completely respect the desire to leave these women’s words untouched.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    what a lovely cookbook! the authors exceeded my expectations by featuring east african recipes that can be easily recreated in american kitchens, often without need for alteration or substitution, but their careful contextualization of these recipes within the histories – cultural, matriarchal, and personal – from which they hail really sets this cookbook apart. i enjoyed making the creamy/hearty kenyan kunde (a vegan meal of black-eyed peas, peanut butter, and tomatoes to which i added some gin what a lovely cookbook! the authors exceeded my expectations by featuring east african recipes that can be easily recreated in american kitchens, often without need for alteration or substitution, but their careful contextualization of these recipes within the histories – cultural, matriarchal, and personal – from which they hail really sets this cookbook apart. i enjoyed making the creamy/hearty kenyan kunde (a vegan meal of black-eyed peas, peanut butter, and tomatoes to which i added some ginger and chard) and look forward to trying out some of the other plant-based recipes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Megan Tristao

    Loved this cookbook. There's a short introduction to each country, which taught me so much about each place (including the different colonial influences on the food), along with Q&A interviews from a bibi or two from each country. I thought some of the interviews were a little shallow and repetitive, but the focus of this book was the food, and that was displayed beautifully. I also appreciated how the authors shared the recipes in traditional ways while also sharing how to adapt for "Western" k Loved this cookbook. There's a short introduction to each country, which taught me so much about each place (including the different colonial influences on the food), along with Q&A interviews from a bibi or two from each country. I thought some of the interviews were a little shallow and repetitive, but the focus of this book was the food, and that was displayed beautifully. I also appreciated how the authors shared the recipes in traditional ways while also sharing how to adapt for "Western" kitchens if the reader doesn't have the same equipment or can't find the exact right ingredients.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Do the recipes taste better because they are from Grandmothers? I think so. This is such a beautiful book, that does a wonderful job introducing you to 8 incredible women, their stories, and the spices, flavors and techniques they've used their whole lives. Bere Bere is in my spice cabinet thanks to Hawa and Ma Gehennet. Shiro, Firfir, ground chickpea stew...there is so much comfort in this book. Do the recipes taste better because they are from Grandmothers? I think so. This is such a beautiful book, that does a wonderful job introducing you to 8 incredible women, their stories, and the spices, flavors and techniques they've used their whole lives. Bere Bere is in my spice cabinet thanks to Hawa and Ma Gehennet. Shiro, Firfir, ground chickpea stew...there is so much comfort in this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Two chapters in and I’m already planning to buy this cookbook. It intermingles grandmothers, African culture, food as cultural expression, geography, spices galore, and recipes that make me want to start slicing and stirring in the kitchen because they sound so delicious and easy to prep for. The book is a visual feast too. This would be a wonderful addition to any high school library that that supports geographic literacy. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I enjoyed this book very much, it was so interesting learning about so many different African cuisines. I agree with an earlier reviewer who felt that the authors' western feminist attitudes were a bit distracting, especially in the interviews with the bibis. I haven't tried any recipes (yet! Julia Turshen is fantastic, so I have no doubt everything will be delicious) but love hearing about food and culture so this was a total win for me. I enjoyed this book very much, it was so interesting learning about so many different African cuisines. I agree with an earlier reviewer who felt that the authors' western feminist attitudes were a bit distracting, especially in the interviews with the bibis. I haven't tried any recipes (yet! Julia Turshen is fantastic, so I have no doubt everything will be delicious) but love hearing about food and culture so this was a total win for me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I read cookbooks for the recipes. In that respect, this was a well-done cookbook. I always appreciate when the author's include color photos of the dishes. I would have preferred longer passages about the Bibi's featured in the book. I was expecting more details about their life in the African countries and more stories surrounding the dishes. It was more like a quick magazine feature then an in-depth article. I read cookbooks for the recipes. In that respect, this was a well-done cookbook. I always appreciate when the author's include color photos of the dishes. I would have preferred longer passages about the Bibi's featured in the book. I was expecting more details about their life in the African countries and more stories surrounding the dishes. It was more like a quick magazine feature then an in-depth article.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    One of my favorite cookbooks that I've read this year! Loved reading the stories of the African grandmothers and the dishes they shared. Beautiful stories, gorgeous photography, and delicious recipes! This book spans 8 African countries on the Indian Ocean coast and includes 75 recipes shared by these ladies. Incredible book! One of my favorite cookbooks that I've read this year! Loved reading the stories of the African grandmothers and the dishes they shared. Beautiful stories, gorgeous photography, and delicious recipes! This book spans 8 African countries on the Indian Ocean coast and includes 75 recipes shared by these ladies. Incredible book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The recipes in this book are at once comforting and exciting and accessible to an audience outside of East Africa. Including introductory information about each of the countries and interviews with every featured grandmother makes this cookbook feel more personal than any I’ve read before. I’ve already bookmarked a dozen recipes!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A beautiful cookbook - that included the stories of the women who made the recipes and the countries that they come from. The recipes included all seemed within the range of most north american kitchens. I loved the pictures and more than anything this book made me want to travel - to get deeper into the cuisines that this small collection could provide.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A wonderful compilation of recipes, family cooking, and country of origin detail. Learning about the country and having family stories brought the recipes and what they meant into a very personal reading for me. The color photographs popped and looking at the grandmother's photographs while they are cooking brought each recipe closer to my heart. A superb way to present cooking. A wonderful compilation of recipes, family cooking, and country of origin detail. Learning about the country and having family stories brought the recipes and what they meant into a very personal reading for me. The color photographs popped and looking at the grandmother's photographs while they are cooking brought each recipe closer to my heart. A superb way to present cooking.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pinky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Traditional recipes from a few different African countries that are near the Indian Ocean. Liked that each chapter was for a separate country and included an interview with one or two grandmothers and recipes from their kitchen. Excited to try the Mofo Gasy, Roho, and Chakalaka and Cheddar Braaibroodjies recipes.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alli Roper

    This is a cookbook you can really read, with actual interviews of the bibis. I loved that! It was a beautiful cookbook. So many of recipes intrigued me (this is definitely not Magnolia Table here) and I loved the honoring of traditional food and womanhood. The interviews felt a bit stilted at times, but I still really enjoyed looking through this and would love to own it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    The recipes are great and the authors have made substitutions for items that aren't easy to get in the US. The women who are the Bibi's are interesting but I think I would've liked the layout done a bit differently. The interviews start feeling the same despite the fact that everyone is from different places. The recipes are great and the authors have made substitutions for items that aren't easy to get in the US. The women who are the Bibi's are interesting but I think I would've liked the layout done a bit differently. The interviews start feeling the same despite the fact that everyone is from different places.

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