African Food History
African food history cannot be separated from the history of Africans wherever they currently are in the world. Africans have a long and rich history and this is evident in our diet. Long before the arrival of the Arabs and White Men, and even before slave trade and the scramble for Africa, Africans have been creating excellent food from the abundance that nature provides.
The quality of African foods even before the arrival of white men and their “civilization” has been documented by many different writers. One of such writers who attested to the rich nature of African cuisine is Olaudah Equiano, a.k.a. Gustavus Vassa (1745 – 31 March 1797). He was one of the earliest black African writers in the United Kingdom and one of his testimonies about African food is that it is “free from refinements in cookery which debauch the taste”. Africans still cook alike and most African foods retain their traditional tastiness and spiciness.
As opposed to what the biased history books will have us believe, Africans were not a bunch of cannibalistic savages that had nothing to eat other the flesh of other men and wild berries. Africans have perfected different cooking and food preservation methods, most of which are still in use today.
However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find much difference between professionally prepared African cuisine and its Oriental or Continental counterparts. Nonetheless, current African food with its modernizations is still very much indebted to the traditions that have been passed down by generations who took their food ideas with them wherever they were taken.
Elements of African food are found in Asian dishes especially when you consider how the foods are spiced up with different kinds of chili pepper.
In the West Indies, the afro-Caribbean food has holds much resemblance to traditional African foods as they are usually starch-based with generous helping of proteins and vegetables.