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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

By Charlotte Njua


The act of cooking is as old as time. According to historians and archaeologists, the early man after the discovery of fire tried cooking to improve upon the taste of his food. In the Bible, after God had created man, He gave him the right to eat of the fruits and herbs in the garden. The eating of flesh was only instituted to Noah and his sons after the flood. I think that is when cooking actually came in. We only see the first instance of food preparation as from Genesis chapter 14 till the end of the book. The kind of cooking they normally carried out was either roasting or baking. In Exodus when God gave Moses instructions as to how they were to prepare the Passover meal, He told them to roast the lamb and not eat it raw and to bake the bread without leaven.
In Africa, unlike in the developed world, cooking is still carried out using crude methods like the ‘three stone’ fire place or the fire wood cooker, the kerosene stove or the ‘sawdust tin.’ Very few people use electric or gas cookers and still fewer use microwave ovens. Most of the cooking done is boiling, frying or roasting, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa where most people use local ovens made of mud. Others put sand in pots and heat them, these they use as ovens. This is similar to what happens in Northern Africa where most of the baking is done in hot sand. It is a very interesting process and it is similar to what used to occur in the ‘Abrahamaic’ period since most of the Hebrews were nomads and desert dwellers.
Some Africans are also involved in large scale baking especially of bread and diverse cakes which are still seen as a luxury in most parts of Africa. Most people when leaving town to their villages always buy bread from town to give to their relatives when the get home because that is a luxury most people can’t afford. Some rare ones often add cakes and biscuits to the bread making themselves heroes in the eyes of the village kids whose usual knowledge of biscuit is what is left in the pot of ‘corn-fufu’ after their mothers have finished removing it. This is called in local jargon ‘country biscuit.’ There are also some large scale bakeries in the big towns and cities who make available to the population that t can afford them delicacies recognised in the international scene like croissants, hamburgers of various kinds, sandwiches, hotdogs and different varieties of cakes, cookies and biscuits. However most of these are not baked there but imported. Generally these food items are considered by Africans as luxuries though in the last few years they have become more available to the local populations due to globalisation especially in the major towns and cities.
In essence, cooking or baking is meant to ameliorate on the taste of food, its quality and to render it safer for human consumption. Africa still has a long way to go in modernising this institution and making available for the people the kind of delicacies that they get to see only on foreign channels, but until then they will have to make do on what they have now.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Myrna Noyes01/11/07
Very interesting facts on African cooking and baking processes! I enjoyed reading your article, but it would have been easier if you'd broken it up into paragraphs. It also could have used a bit of proofreading, but the information you shared was fascinating! :) Thank you!
Lovia Larkin01/11/07
Informative. I liked it, but have to agree that it would be easier to read with paragraphs. Keep the pen busy! Thank you.
Jenny Smith01/12/07
Dennis Fletcher01/16/07
Interesting facts, enjoyable to read. I hav e to agree, though, that it needed a bit more proofing prior to submiting.
Also, try putting spaces between the paragraphs as that helps with the ease of reading.