Entry for April 08, 2007

Photo of Daniswa Lubengu and her mother Lesha preparing a South african traditional meal of Umphokoqo, (mielie meal) and Umfino (wild greens similar to spinach) from her entry at Peace Diaries.

Yesterday, at the market, Jack Ferguson had spinach, Asian kale and curly kale (no creasey greens–they had bolted in the heat, and now it was below freezing again!). I decided to adapt a recipe from memory from the celebration the tenth anniversary of South African independence I got to taste April 24, 2004 at the Zatarain’s Food Heritage Stage at the New Oleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

It’s a combination of greens cooked with sauteed onions and garlic and tomatoes and maize meal (I used quinoa.)

The chef was Nomvula Mashoai Cook, who was was born in South Africa and raised in Lesotho. She graduated from Strayer College with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and attended Howard University in African studies. She had been a member of the African Immigrant Folklife Study group at the Smithsonian Insitute since 1994 and co-authored the article,“A Taste of Home: African Immigrant Foodways” in the 1997 Festival of American Folklife Program Book. Unless there is someone else with the same name, she serves as the chairperson of the Craft Council of South Africa.

In her bio at the study group,

She recalls that growing up in Lesotho she enjoyed traditional dancing and singing. Arriving in the United States in 1981, she soon found herself “swimming in the belly of a new culture.” In fear of losing her heritage, she began actively collecting and preserving the music and art of her Basotho ethnic group. She invites Africans and African Americans at her house every year for an “African Marketplace” that features food, music, and dancing and creates a dialog between cultures.

Although I couldn’t find the specific recipe when I looked later, there are lots of good ones at the Congo Cookbook.

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