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Central African Cuisine

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Overview of Central African Cuisine History Edit

The African cuisine, in general, is one that reflects indigenous traditions, but also many influences from Arabs, Europeans and Asians. Africa is the second largest landmass on the planet and it hosts hundreds of ethnic and social groups. Of course, the African cuisine reflects all this diversity especially in the use of basic ingredients and in the cooking techniques. Central Africa is situated between the Tibesti Mountains and the vast basin of the Congo River. The place has remained outside the area of culinary influences for a very long period of time. The first influences started to appear in the Central African cuisine only at the end of the 19th century, when the African people started to give more importance to what they ate and how the food looked. However, the Central African cuisine adopted some widespread ingredients from other cuisines due to the slave trade during the 16th century. Such adopted ingredients would be cassava, Peanut, chilli pepper plants and a few more other. Obviously, these imported ingredients have had a major influence on the Central African cuisine. Still, the African people preserved their traditional cooking methods, thus the new ingredients were sometimes used a lot differently than they were usually used. Today, Central African cuisine is considered to be quite a unique cuisine, presenting a large variety of exotic dishes.

Cuisines of Central African Republic Edit

Map of Central African Republic

Map of Central African Republic- Click to enlarge

The most used ingredients in the Central African cuisine are the plantains and cassava. The cuisine here is a wonderful combination of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. The tradition there is to cook Fufu-like starchy dishes, which are usually prepared from fermented cassava roots. These strange but also delicious dishes are sometimes used to garnish grilled meat. Another very popular thing in the Central African cuisine is the sauce. The Africans like to eat almost everything garnished with sauces that is why they developed a lot of recipes of various, tasty sauces. The most traditional meats in Central Africa are the ones of the animals that can be hunted in the African forests. There are a lot of local ingredients that are used when cooking that is why, when they cook imported dishes they still preserve the local taste. For instance, the Central African spinach stew is cooked with tomato, peppers, chilli peppers, onions and Peanut butter. cassava plants are probably considered to be the national cooking ingredient and they are consumed as cooked greens. The Central African cuisine wasn’t popular in the West, but lately it started to be more and more popular as immigrants bring their own recipes with them.

Preparation Methods for Central African Cooking Edit

The Central African cuisine is a very special and exotic cuisine that has been isolated from the outside influences for a very long time. The cooking techniques have also been the same for centuries. During the last centuries, though, the Central African cuisine has started to interact with other cuisines as people have started to move more freely on the continent and not only. Before, only through the slave exchange did any cooking influences manage to enter this cuisine. Today, the Central African cooking methods are pretty much similar to any cuisine’s cooking techniques. One of the most used techniques in the Central African cuisine is boiling. Usually the sauces they use to garnish their food are prepared through boiling. They also marinate their meat a lot. In Central Africa it is quite essential to marinate the meat which is usually tougher than the usual. Another cooking preparation method that is very popular in Central Africa is deep-frying. The most popular Central African dish prepared through this technique is the fish turnover. People here also use to dry their meat in order to preserve it for longer periods of time without having to refrigerate or freeze it. Steaming is another very popular way to cook both meats and vegetables.

Special Equipment for Central African Cooking Edit

The Central African cuisine is one of the most original cuisines in the world, thus the cooking equipment is also quite interesting for the westerner’s eye. Some of the African cooking utensils are used as decorative objects from the people from other cultures. Such utensils would be wooden fruit bowls, spoons, grinders, mixing bowls and many more. Most of the wooden cooking tools are hand made and hand carved, thus being quite an attraction for the western tourists and not only. The Central African people also use other cooking utensils, such as pens, grills, grinders, huge boiling bowls and other recipients and tools that they use to cut the meat. The Central African people also have special utensils that they use to smoke the meat. One of the strangest cooking tools is the banana tree leaf. These huge leafs are quite often being used during the steaming process.

Central African Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Central Africa is a place of festivals and celebrations. These festivals naturally involve a lot of food traditions and they touch all the dimensions in people’s lives. Such dimensions celebrated through these festivals are birth and initiation, marriage, and sometimes, even courtship, selection of the tribes’ chiefs, beliefs, gods and worships, and ancestors. One of the most important celebrations in Central Africa is dedicated to death. People here have very strong beliefs and they believe in spirits and other such things. The food and drink that use to accompany these festivals are usually traditional foods. The Chicken is believed to be a better type of meat that is why during the most important celebrations the dishes are prepared with Chicken meat or poultry. Food here reflects local influence, but it also reflects a mixture of other colonial traditions. The Central African cuisine represents a combination of fruits, vegetables, meat and milk. The everyday Central African diet consists of mostly milk, curds and whey.

People in Central African Food Edit

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Since the earliest times, the Central African people have always been hunters and their cooking was based on meat. The Central African cuisine hasn’t been too much diversified along many centuries, as the people here were quite isolated in the middle of a rough continent. After a while the people there started to move westwards and began meeting other people who provided them with other kinds of food such as seafood, mainly oceanic fish, shark, and other products that could be found only on coast regions. Central African people also used to eat fish that they used to catch from the rivers nearby. They also ate a few fruits and vegetables that they could find in the area, but only after they have discovered farming did they start to use mass quantities of vegetables and fruits. They also started to breed sheep, goats and cattle. The northern tribes have imported all these animals from the West Asian people and then they have slowly brought them in the central regions of Africa too.

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