Safari Cooking: Equipment

Bennet's Wadanga Cook and Bearer
Bennet's Wadanga Cook and Bearer

Animal rights — forget it. In the days of the Great White Hunters, no way.

Writers and hunters both romanced the African safari. Men like U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt killed hundreds of big-game animals, keeping taxidermists happy.

A whole body literature appeared in the early twentieth century, extolling the virtues of the hunt, encouraging the moneyed classes of England, and the United States, to set sail for the Dark Continent and live — if only temporarily— as they imagined early men did. It was a time of nostalgia for the “primitive” past.  Theodore Roosevelt popularized the safari in African Game Trails and writer Ernest Hemingway added to it with The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Green Hills of Africa.

In those days, a safari lasted much longer than the tours now advertised for two or three days.

In Shots and Snapshots in East Africa (1914) , Edward Bennet included list of equipment necessary for safaris.  The following concerns mostly food:

SAFARI EQUIPMENT

Cook’s Tent, 40 Ib.

1 knife, fork, and spoon
1 tin opener
1 screw-driver and file
1 panga (cutter)
1 shoka (axe)
1 bread mould
2 hurricane lanterns
1 bucket
1 corkscrew
1 large kettle, aluminium [sic]
4 cooking-pots, „
1 frying-pan, „

Cook, Boy, and Gun-boy.

4J loads rice (Rs.45),  36 lb. sugar (Rs.12).
Note.-Less rice may be taken, as it can be bought at out-stations, though the price is higher.

6 porters’ tents, 6 safurias [metal pot] and senias (lids), Rs.20.
1 kibaba [pot, pan] (14 Ib. measure), 25 porters’ ropes, Rs.3.75.
25 small posho [corn] bags, Rs.4.50.
2 tape measures (steel), nails, hammer, pincers, Hank’s sail twine and sail needles.

africa-safari-lionsList of Stores.

One Person For Two Months.

Breakfast or Tea. (The cost in rupees follows.)

12 tins condensed milk . 6.00
4 tins tea … 5.60
2 Ib. tins coffee . . 2.50
12 Ib. brown sugar . 4.50
6 lb. white sugar . . 1.50
4 tins butter . .6.00
6 tins jam . . . 3.00
4 lb. tins Quaker Oats . 3.00
20 lb. flour . . .2.40
3 tins baking powder . 3.00
6 tins marrowfat . . 8.22
10 Ib. bacon . . . 8.00
6 (Ib.) tins cheese . 2.70
2 lb. plain chocolate, eating . . . 4.00
3 (2 lb.) tins biscuits . 4.50
6 small tins potted meat. 3.00
4 tins sausages . . 2.50

Fish.

4 tins sardines . . 2.00

Soup.

R*. dozen soup squares . 4.50

Vegetables.

4 lb. pease . . . 2.00
4 lb. baked beans . . 2.00
30 lb. potatoes . .1.25
20 lb. onions . . 3.34
8 lb. Patna rice . .2.00
1 bottle curry powder . 1.12

Osa Johnson and masai Tribesmen on Safari, 1930s
Osa Johnson and Maasai Tribesmen on Safari, 1930s

Puddings.

2 Ib. cornflour . . 1.50
12 packets jelly squares . 2.40
3 Ib. macaroni . . 2.25
4 tins apricot . . 8.00
4 tins apple rings . . 5.50
2 tins pine-apple . . 4.00
1 tin preserved ginger . 1.50

Miscellaneous.

2 tins peaflour
1 bottle vinegar .
1 bottle Worcester sauce
2 bottles whisky .
6 bottles lime juice
10 doz. sparklets . .
1 case 2 tins kerosine .
.2 doz. boxes matches
1 packet bromo paper .
15 Ib. alum (skins)
30 lb. coarse salt .
3 boxes Sunlight soap . [soap produced by Lever, British company]
4 chop boxes. . .

The film, Out of Africa, portrayed hunting, especially of the safari variety, as a normal, everyday part of colonial life in East Africa. And it was.

*(John Henry Patterson, in the The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East-African Adventures 1908), states that The rupee [Rs.] in British East Africa is on the basis of 15 to the £l sterling.”)

© 2009 C. Bertelsen

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