Sublime Kabobs and Thousands of Bugs in Eastern Sudan, 1861

The Bakers in Eastern Sudan. Source: The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia

Here again, we meet Samuel Baker and his wife Florence amongst the Hamran  Arab tribes of Eastern Sudan, giving us a lecture about cooking equipment and how we should prepare our freshly-killed game meat while on safari.

Also, some frank information about flying and crawling bugs (there was no Deet then…).

With or without the bugs, it could be a recipe for an on-the-road Thanksgiving.

Baker, Samuel – The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia and The Sword Hunters of the Hamran Arabs, 1864 (travel = 1861)

Having a gridiron, and  pepper and salt, I made a grand dinner of liver and kidneys,  while my men ate a great portion of the gazelle raw, and  cooked the remainder in their usual careless manner by  simply laying it upon the fire for a few seconds until warmed  half through.

There is nothing like a good gridiron for rough  cooking; a frying-pan is good if you have fat, but without it,  the pan is utterly useless.

With a gridiron and a couple of  iron skewers a man is independent:–the liver cut in strips  and grilled with pepper and salt is excellent, but kabobs are  sublime, if simply arranged upon the skewer in alternate  pieces of liver and kidney cut as small as walnuts, and  rubbed with chopped garlic, onions, cayenne, black pepper,  and salt. The skewers thus arranged should be laid either  upon the glowing embers, or across the gridiron.

… Not a man closed his eyes that night — not that the  dinner disagreed with them–but the mosquitoes! Lying on  the ground, the smoke of the fires did not protect us; we  were beneath it, as were the mosquitoes likewise; in fact the  fires added to our misery, as they brought new plagues in  thousands of flying bugs; with beetles of all sizes and kinds:

These, becoming stupified in the smoke, tumbled clumsily  upon me, entangling themselves in my long beard and  whiskers, crawling over my body, down my neck, and up my  sleeping-drawers, until I was swarming… [they] emitted a perfume that was unbearable.

The night seemed  endless; it was passed in alternately walking to and fro,  flapping right and left with a towel, covering my head with a  pillow-case, and gasping for air through the button-hole, in  an atmosphere insufferably sultry…


Myers and his coherts were apparently inspired by the travels of the Bakers in Eastern Sudan+




About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-East, Colonialism, Cuisine, Explorers & exploration, Food, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sublime Kabobs and Thousands of Bugs in Eastern Sudan, 1861

  1. Pingback: Speke’s Adventure with a Beetle on Lake Tanganyika, c.1862 « Dianabuja's Blog

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