“Cooking African food is treating food with love and in turn sharing that love with your family, friends, guests and community.” – Yollande Deacon, founder of Afro Fusion Cuisine
AFRICAN FOOD IS A MYRIAD OF CUISINES AND CULTURAL INFLUENCES
There is no singular African cuisine. Every region in Africa has its own unique collection of recipes, traditions and dishes which were developed on the basis of the region’s climate, cultural influences and colonization.
Each region’s dishes are based on the fruits, vegetables and grains grown in the area, as well as availability and attitudes toward meat and game.
The continent’s diverse demographic makeup is also reflected in an extraordinarily wide-ranging variety of culinary traditions, dishes, and preparation techniques.
East African cuisine reflects layers of cultural influence as impacted by the British, French, German, Italians and Portuguese, all of whom occupied portions of the region during the colonial period. In fact, many countries in East Africa have incorporated ingredients like rice, saffron, cinnamon, peppers, tomatoes, and pineapples into their traditional cuisines.
In the savannah meat products are generally eschewed, as cattle are viewed as forms of currency and wealth. Instead, steamed green bananas, corn, and cereal grains make up much of their diet.
The cuisine of Central Africa is based largely on the foundations of starchy vegetables including plantains and yucca.
Fufu, a staple food in Central Africa, is made from fermented cassava, the root of a woody native shrub. Greens and peanut stews are also prevalent. Beef, lamb, goat and chicken are preferred by most Central Africans, but game meat such as, elephant, snake, crocodile, antelope, and warthog are also served.
West African / The Ivory Coast
West African Cuisine bears similarities to Central African Cuisine, particularly in the use of starchy vegetables, meats, and spices. Staples of the area include fufu, banku, couscous, and gari served alongside soups and stews.
The cuisine of the Ivory Coast in West Africa can also be seen as a primary influence in the cuisine of Jamaica, which incorporates a variety of traditional African vegetables, fruits and herbs.
The Horn of Africa
In the horn of Africa, Ethiopian and Eritrean styles of cooking are the most popular. Mainstays of Eritrean cooking include kitcha fit-fit (a chicken, butter, and spice mixture), injera (wheat-based flatbread), and tsebhis (slow cooked stews.
Ethiopian cuisine, which has become increasingly popular in the United States, traditionally includes wats (stews) served on Ethiopian sponge bread also known as injera.
North African cuisine takes inspiration from its location along the Mediterranean Sea. Ingredients including couscous, olives, olive oil, cloves, sweet pastries (like Baklava), potatoes, chilies, and zucchini are key staples in North African cooking.
Of course, thanks to its proximity to the Middle East, dishes like shawarma, kebabs, baba ganoush, and falafel are commonplace in North African countries like Egypt.
Southern African cuisine is a blend of traditional African, European, and Asian cuisines.
Basic staples in Southern Africa include milk, yogurt, apricots, mangoes, bananas, oranges, lamb, ostrich, prawns, tuna, and lobster. Potjiekos, traditional Afrikaner stews made with meat and vegetables, are also extremely common.
We invite you to explore the world of African flavors using our Afro Fusion Cuisine products.
With love from my kitchen to yours,
About Yollande Tchouapi Deacon
Yollande Tchouapi Deacon is a native of Bantu from the Bamileke tribe of Cameroon in West Africa. She is a wife and mother. She is also a self-described dreamer, idealist and food lover, whose life and work is fueled by the cuisine of her ancestors.
She was raised in a family of restaurateurs in a community where meals were not only a source for nourishment, but a means for bonding and social activity. And her upbringing instilled an enduring appreciation for community, a desire to care for others, and a strong sense of cultural identity and pride.
Yollande’s journey to Milwaukee began at Marquette University, where she completed her master’s degree in business. Once in the Cream City, Yollande married into a Jamaican family, whose traditional roots touched and intermingled with her own. The experience fueled her ongoing desire to share an honest and authentic view of both African and Jamaican cultures with a wider audience.
She found her voice through two distinct brands: Afro Fusion Cuisine and her restaurant Irie Zulu. Both are rooted in African tradition with an aim to assist consumers in rediscovering the simple joys of cooking natural, flavorful and healthy meals together. The brands showcase the versatility, uniqueness, heritage, beauty and treasures of tribal Africa through the eyes of a well-traveled native African who now calls Milwaukee home.