Category Archives: Africa-West

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 , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 , , , | 6 Comments

The Magicality of Cuisine 2: A Recipe for a complicated Love Filtre for Men. 19th Century Gabon

Continuing our survey of pre-modern dishes with examples from the Gabon area of West Africa, I want to give a recipe for a love filtre for men as detailed by Dr. Robert Nassau, who served as missionary, doctor and ethnologist throughout … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-General, Africa-West, Anthropology, Cuisine, Ethnography, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Magic, Missionaries, Recipes, Robert Nassau | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sahelian City-States in the Western Sahel: Part 2

Recent and ongoing events in the Sahel by way of food crises, religiously based conflict, ethnically based conflict, and military coups are intertwined.  They are the most recent iterations of  interdependent political, economic, religious, social, and cultural changes that have … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-North, Africa-West, Agriculture, Arab traders, Caravan routes, Colonialism, Ethnicity, History, Ivory, Niger River, Religion, Sahel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Open Letter to Paula Deen

Originally posted on Afroculinaria:
An Open Letter to Paula Deen: Photo Courtesy of: Johnathan M. Lewis Dear Paula Deen, So it’s been a tough week for you… believe me you I know something about tough weeks being a beginning food…

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Posted in Africa-Central, Africa-West, Collard greens, Cuisine, Food, Food & Politics, Southern cuisine | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Adventures of Mary Gaunt, Alone in West Africa in 1910

Not an explorer – too late for that – but certainly one of the most interesting travelers in Africa during the colonial period, whose insights bring to life colonial times along the west African coast. This is the first of … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa-West, Colonialism, European explorers, Explorers & exploration, Mary Gaunt, Mungo Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments