Category Archives: Africa-West

The Magicality of Cuisine 4: A Special Dish for a Woman Cultivator, 19th Century Liberia, West Africa

As with other ‘magical dishes’ in this series, it is the context and activities associated with the dish that render it effective – not merely the specified ingredients: Pre-modern cuisine in many parts of the world can be more fully understood … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Cuisine, European colonizers, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Organic Gardenig, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

An Account of the Plague in Barbary, North Africa, 1799 – Part II

Some Account of a peculiar Species of Plague which depopulated West Barbary in 1799 and 1800, and to the Effects of which the Author was an eyewitness. By James G. Jackson, Mogodor/ Essaouira Part I, can be found here. From various … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-North, Africa-West, Colonialism, Ebola, European colonizers, European explorers, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Sahel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Account of the Plague in Barbary, North Africa, 1799 – Part I

Plagues have been important – and often deadly – aspect of long distance trade and travel for millennia.   As we enter into the 21st century plague that is now gripping West Africa, what can be learned from reports of ‘the plague’ … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-North, Africa-West, Caravan routes, Colonialism, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Niger River | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Magicality of Cuisine 5 – A Spicy Warriors’ Stew, Gabon West Africa

Cuisine in premodern societies may contain a variety of ingredients that are meant to imbue the dish with magical attributes directed to specific ends.  In past blogs on this topic we have seen dishes that are to secure love for … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Cuisine, Ethnography, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Magical House-Breaker of Gabon, West Africa – 19th. Century

The following story told to the Rev. Nassau contains several features that are characteristic of groups living in the area in which he lived and worked: Separation of settlements from the gardens maintained by women of these settlements; Honorable characteristics … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Ethnography, Gardens, Magic, Missionaries, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Magicality of Cuisine 4: Feeding the Soil a Stew of Leaves and Bark to Guarantee Successful Gardening, 19th Century Gabon, West Africa

Just as people and spirits must be fed, so, too, is the case with the soils that are to be cultivated.  Hence, magically based recipes that are specially destined to nourish the soils and/or spirits associated with a woman’s garden … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Cuisine, Ethnography, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic, Missionaries, Recipes, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Magicality of Cuisine 3: A Dish of Fish and Plantains to Guarantee Successful Fishing, 19th Century Gabon, West Africa

While early travellers and explorers in Africa tended to ‘extract’ cuisine from its social and cultural context, thus walling off dishes as specific and secularized recipes,  missionaries often did not.  Perhaps due both to their lengthy stays in one region … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Agriculture, Cuisine, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic, Missionaries, Recipes, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments