A Cook in Colonial Africa

Esa nearly drops the wine bottle, all because of colonial British ideas about propriety in cooking and dining. That’s from an unforgettable scene in the film, “Out of Africa,” epitomizing the British way with food in their colonies. And their focus on the cooks, mostly male, who worked for them. Meryl Streep, as Baroness Karen…

Lady Tew’s “West African” Cookbook

An interesting cookbook for those pondering the influence of colonialism on the British and their foreign subjects: Cooking in West Africa: A Colonial Guide, by Lady Muriel Tew (London: Jeppestown, 2007. Originally published 1920.) In the introduction to the 2007 edition, Lady Tew’s son David provides some rare biographical information about her: My mother was…

The Creation of French Africa: Officialdom at Work

True, the British colonized the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria, but for all practical purposes, like a roll of the dice, West Africa fell to the French. And it wasn’t an easy roll of the dice, either. Carton after carton of documents from the late 1800s arrive at my assigned reading space in the…

Banania — an Image of French Colonialism?

I will tear down those Banania smiles from the walls of France. ~~ Léopold Sédar Senghor, poet and first president of independent Senegal*   Branding. Such a loaded word, when you consider it. For many Americans it suggests branding cattle and other property, to prove ownership. Very capitalistic, those cowboys, don’t you think? In any…

Lady Tew’s “West African” Cookbook

An interesting cookbook for those pondering the influence of colonialism on the British and their foreign subjects: Cooking in West Africa: A Colonial Guide, by Lady Muriel Tew (London: Jeppestown, 2007. Originally published 1920.) In the introduction to the 2007 edition, Lady Tew’s son David provides some rare biographical information about her: My mother was…