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Module 6: African Cuisine

About the Video | Key Concepts | Before Watching | After Watching | Resources and Interesting Intersections

 

About the Video

In this video, Fran Osseo-Asare, Founder of Betumi, discusses the importance of food as a way to lower cultural barriers. Fran reminds us of the relationship between national power, racism and cuisine. She discusses her website, www.Betumi.com, a space to discover, document, and share information on the vast and fascinating culinary heritage of Africa.

Video: AcademIK Connections Module 6: African Cuisine

Printer-friendly Version of Module 6: African Cuisine [Word]

 

Key Concepts

Cuisine: is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a specific culture. It is usually named after the region or place where its underlying culture resides. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade. Religious food laws can also exercise a strong influence on cuisine.

Media Influence: the media, such as television, radio, and the Internet influence how audiences think and behave: this effect is both positive and negative. The way media portray topics affects how these topics are seen throughout the world.

Fad: is a behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period of time. A fad is generally a behavior perceived as novel; once the novelty is gone, the fad will quickly fade. A fad is said to "catch on" when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly.

Caring about Foreign Cuisine: according to Osseo-Asare, having a culturally rich and diverse diet enriches people, making it easier for them to bridge the barriers that keep them apart. People who cook and eat together are able to connect with one another. (Example: When Osseo-Asare traveled to Ghana she found that food helped her connect with people when she could not speak their language).

 

Before Watching

 

  1. Discuss recipes that have been passed down in your family from generation to generation. Are these recipes associated with certain traditions and festivals?
  2. Do you think people should care or try to learn about different cultures and the foods they eat? Have you ever tried a food from another culture? Share your experience. Have you or someone you know ever attempted to prepare a meal that was not served in your own home because it was associated with the food patterns of a different culture?

After Watching

 

  1. Discussion topics related to this video:
    • Why is cooking and eating together good for us? What is your opinion on this concept? Do you have traditions in your family that revolve around food? How can food transcend barriers between people of different cultures? Discuss an example provided in the video.
    • How does the power of a country relate to its food? What role does racism play in our food choices? How does that prejudice affect a culture and its people?
    • What was Osseo-Asare’s reason for documenting the indigenous recipes for different types of foods and launching her website betumi.com? Do you think this website is helpful or hurtful to the cultures being highlighted? Do you think betumi.com exploits the culture or is cultural cuisine an appropriate way of sharing cultural identity? Give specific examples supporting your perspective.
  2. Related Indigenous Knowledge topics for further exploration
    • Relate this video to the Indigenous Ways of Knowing video. In your opinion what is the best way to learn about a culture? Discuss the different ways that are portrayed in the videos and your opinions on how to improve communication between cultures.
    • Relate this video to the Nutri-Business video. How do the speakers in the videos help the locals spread their indigenous knowledge? Think of a food-related situation in your community that you think other communities would benefit from knowing about. Are there certain foods eaten or certain ways of cooking foods that are unique to your community?

Resources and Interesting Intersections

  • Contemporary African Cuisine
    This is the website created by Fran Osseo-Asare. It features different recipes and has a weekly blog with new recipes and pictures. This website goes along with the discussion in this video and is a good resource to explore.
  • Food Culture in China
    This site explores the cuisine of China. There are many different pages that list the types of food and drink typically consumed in different parts of China with an explanation as to why. It discusses the advantages of the food/drink and its place in the culture of China.
  • Kenya History and Food
    This site provides information about the typical cuisine of Kenya. It gives details about the history of Kenyan food and how certain foods came to be eaten in this country. The Portuguese and other Europeans were responsible for introducing many foods eaten in Kenya today. The site also provides basic Kenyan recipes and the etiquette for eating in Kenya. On this site, students can also explore other countries and learn about their cultural cuisines as well.
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