Pearl Millet - Sorghum - Bambara Groundnut - Cassava

...the Culinary Staples of Rural West Africa


 Pearl Millet & Sorghum - Bambara Groundnut - Cassava


Rural African cooking is almost always done over a open wood fire. Cast iron pots are supported over a three stone platform made traditionally out of dried clay or other local building material. The pictures taken below by Andrea Telmo RPCV in 2000, are of two small village restraunt in a community of 800 in rural Mali. These are typical examples of what is found throughout most of rural West Africa. 

Meals are generally prepared "family style" in a large communal bowl which is shared by all. Eating with ones hands is the common way to eat a meal. Only one hand is used (typically the right hand) to scoop out a bite sized potion. Click here to see image (Provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. Africa Focus. 2000.  

It should be noted that West African food preparation from harvest to meal is almost exclusively done by women. The many images contained in this web site demonstrate the the intense labor that is required of a rural West African women to provide food for her family. For additional information on this topic see The African Woman Food Farmer Initiative. 


Above pictures taken by Andrea Telmo RPCV  Mali 1999-2001

Links to sites that deal with modern African cooking

African Recipes from A to Z - A large database of African Recipes

African Recipes - The largest listing of African Recipes that I found on the web. Has dishes separated by country

The African Cookbook - Site all about African Cooking with country specific dishes

The Congo Cookbook - Great site on all aspects of African cooking. Goes through the history of different dishes and their ingredients. Provides many cultural tidbits as well as many recipes.

The Life in Africa Foundation Recipes Page - This site is still under construction but shows many traditional African recipes. Many other African links and info are sure to be added soon.

Fried Bugs - Obscure site dealing with the preparation of insects. (Common during the wet season in some parts of Africa)

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This page was created by Jonathan Annis in the Spring of 2002 for the Trees in Agricultural Systems class at Michigan Technological University. This class helps prepare Masters Internationalist students in Forestry and Civil/Enviornmental Engineering for work as Peace Corps Volunteers.