Cooking in Africa: Memories and Reflections During COVID-19 Isolation

During the week of May 11 – 15, Elatia Harris interviewed me about my latest book, Wisdom Soaked in Palm Oil, available from both Amazon.com and IngramSpark. Read the whole interview below. Day 1: EH: This week I am conducting a live interview in this space with Cynthia Bertelsen, author of Wisdom Soaked in Palm … More Cooking in Africa: Memories and Reflections During COVID-19 Isolation

“Wisdom Soaked in Palm Oil: Journeying Through the Food and Flavors of Africa” My Newest Book Now Available!!

Announcing the publication of my newest book, a collection of essays and meditations related to Africa and the wonderful food there, dedicated to the women of Africa, may they persist: And the book includes dozens of recipes, too! Plus a multitude of chapters on ingredients found in the cooking of Africa. Africa has a way … More “Wisdom Soaked in Palm Oil: Journeying Through the Food and Flavors of Africa” My Newest Book Now Available!!

Vivre en l’Outre-Mer, or, The Trials of Living in French Congo ca. 1923: Part III

Once settled into their bungalow overlooking Stanley Pool in Brazzaville, the Vassals faced the problem of hiring household help, especially a cook. Unlike many Europeans, they found a cook who knew his business, of whom Gabrielle wrote: I am glad, too, to have a change from German cooking.* Our primitive black Matamba is far superior … More Vivre en l’Outre-Mer, or, The Trials of Living in French Congo ca. 1923: Part III

Vivre en l’Outre-Mer, or, The Trials of Living in French Congo ca. 1923: Part I

When the French government appointed Dr. Joseph Vassal, Englishwoman’s Gabrielle Vassal’s French husband, Head of Health Services for Equatorial French Africa (A.E.F.), he exclaimed happily to her, “Je suis nommé en A.E.F.” Naturally she asked, “What’s A.E.F.?” So he replied “Afrique Equatoriale Francaise,” and pointed to Gabon, Tchad, Oubangi-Chari, and the Congo, with its capital … More Vivre en l’Outre-Mer, or, The Trials of Living in French Congo ca. 1923: Part I

What the Crystal Ball Never Reveals: A Few Words about Blogging

A writer [and photographer], I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. ~ Susan Sontag I missed my anniversary this year, for the first time. Five years ago, I started blogging, and began writing regularly (or at least fairly regularly), for myself and not for deadlines, not because of external  “whip wielders” such … More What the Crystal Ball Never Reveals: A Few Words about Blogging

The Little Fish with Big Taste: The Much-Maligned Anchovy and its Cousins

When I finally discovered that anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) weren’t just for crappy pizzas anymore, I was pretty long in the tooth, so to speak. It took me a long time to even dare to add anchovies to the food I cooked. In that, I am not unlike other cooks over the centuries: What if I … More The Little Fish with Big Taste: The Much-Maligned Anchovy and its Cousins