Cabbage and Black-Eyed Peas, Oh My! A New Year’s Tradition in the South

New Year’s Day, coming up fast. Planning your menu, are you? There’s a good reason to hesitate, to take your time, because there’s really only one thing to eat that day. Black-eyed peas, a gift from a part of Africa ruled by the French for a long time. They were there as early as 1659 at St. … More Cabbage and Black-Eyed Peas, Oh My! A New Year’s Tradition in the South

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

Prometheus Unbound: New Evidence on Humans’ Early Use of Fire

I woke up this morning fully intending to end my two weeks of silence on this blog – due to familial obligations – with a preliminary examination of the role of ducks in French cuisine. But that alluring topic took a sudden backseat when I opened up my local newspaper and read, “Humans May have … More Prometheus Unbound: New Evidence on Humans’ Early Use of Fire

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