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The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa

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"For as long as I can remember, I've had Africa on my mind." Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson may be best known for his innovative take on Scandinavian cuisine at New York's Restaurant Aquavit, but his story begins thousands of miles away, in Africa. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, his life transcends national boundaries, and his individual a "For as long as I can remember, I've had Africa on my mind." Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson may be best known for his innovative take on Scandinavian cuisine at New York's Restaurant Aquavit, but his story begins thousands of miles away, in Africa. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, his life transcends national boundaries, and his individual approach to cuisine is a global yet personal one that draws freely from many ethnic and cultural influences.In The Soul of a New Cuisine, Marcus returns to the land of his birth to explore the continent's rich diversity of cultures and cuisines through recipes and stories from his travels in Africa. Stunning color images by award-winning photographer Gediyon Kifle bring the breadth of the African experience to life, from fishermen at sunset off the coast of Zanzibar to French baguettes loaded onto a bicycle in Senegal. Marcus shares more than 200 enticing recipes, including his own African-inspired creations and traditional dishes from all parts of Africa. You can delight in spicy stews and Barbequed Snapper from West Africa and the familiar Mediterranean flavors of dishes like Moroccan Lemon-Olive Chicken, or make your way east and south for the irresistible taste combinations of dishes such as Curried Trout with Coconut-Chili Sauce from Kenya and Apple-Squash Fritters from South Africa's Cape Malay. Using ingredients that are readily available in American markets, the recipes are doable as well as delicious. Of course, one of the keys to authentic African cooking is the use of spice blends and rubs, which elevate simple cooking techniques to an excitingly varied and intense level. Marcus includes his favorites here, with blends that go from sweet to spicy and feature everything from hot chili peppers and peppermint leaves to sesame seeds and ginger. As he says, Africa is "a state of mind that I hope this book will help you tap into wherever you are." By cooking with a handful of this and a pinch of that, trying new foods and enjoying old ones in a new way, and lingering over meals with family and friends, you will bring the free, relaxed spirit of African cooking to your table and discover for yourself the soul of a "new" cuisine.


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"For as long as I can remember, I've had Africa on my mind." Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson may be best known for his innovative take on Scandinavian cuisine at New York's Restaurant Aquavit, but his story begins thousands of miles away, in Africa. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, his life transcends national boundaries, and his individual a "For as long as I can remember, I've had Africa on my mind." Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson may be best known for his innovative take on Scandinavian cuisine at New York's Restaurant Aquavit, but his story begins thousands of miles away, in Africa. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, his life transcends national boundaries, and his individual approach to cuisine is a global yet personal one that draws freely from many ethnic and cultural influences.In The Soul of a New Cuisine, Marcus returns to the land of his birth to explore the continent's rich diversity of cultures and cuisines through recipes and stories from his travels in Africa. Stunning color images by award-winning photographer Gediyon Kifle bring the breadth of the African experience to life, from fishermen at sunset off the coast of Zanzibar to French baguettes loaded onto a bicycle in Senegal. Marcus shares more than 200 enticing recipes, including his own African-inspired creations and traditional dishes from all parts of Africa. You can delight in spicy stews and Barbequed Snapper from West Africa and the familiar Mediterranean flavors of dishes like Moroccan Lemon-Olive Chicken, or make your way east and south for the irresistible taste combinations of dishes such as Curried Trout with Coconut-Chili Sauce from Kenya and Apple-Squash Fritters from South Africa's Cape Malay. Using ingredients that are readily available in American markets, the recipes are doable as well as delicious. Of course, one of the keys to authentic African cooking is the use of spice blends and rubs, which elevate simple cooking techniques to an excitingly varied and intense level. Marcus includes his favorites here, with blends that go from sweet to spicy and feature everything from hot chili peppers and peppermint leaves to sesame seeds and ginger. As he says, Africa is "a state of mind that I hope this book will help you tap into wherever you are." By cooking with a handful of this and a pinch of that, trying new foods and enjoying old ones in a new way, and lingering over meals with family and friends, you will bring the free, relaxed spirit of African cooking to your table and discover for yourself the soul of a "new" cuisine.

30 review for The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sue Anne

    reasons to avoid this book: 1. you actually want a cookbook full of African recipes 2. you are turned off by corporate advertisements masquerading as a cookbook 3. you REALLY don't care about the recipe that some random Starbucks store manager from Tennessee thinks is pretty similar to a scone recipe she tried on her honeymoon in St Kitts (which must be related to African cooking because there were also black people there and I think I read somewhere that sweet potatoes were from Africa, right? (th reasons to avoid this book: 1. you actually want a cookbook full of African recipes 2. you are turned off by corporate advertisements masquerading as a cookbook 3. you REALLY don't care about the recipe that some random Starbucks store manager from Tennessee thinks is pretty similar to a scone recipe she tried on her honeymoon in St Kitts (which must be related to African cooking because there were also black people there and I think I read somewhere that sweet potatoes were from Africa, right? (there are many such employee-contributed recipes in this book, not one of them actually African in origin) 4. you think that the photo of food next to a recipe in a cookbook ought to actually be a photo of the food described in that recipe. (rather than, for example, using a photo of falafel with a pile of pickled cucumbers next to the recipe entitled "falafel with quick tomato sauce". This book is rife with such mismatched image-recipe combinations) 5. you are curious about the images depicted in photos of exotic food items, people, plants, landscapes in richly illustrated books, and would like there to be some kind of legend for such photographs explaining what these exotic images are of.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This book is more of a picture-filled history book of Africa and it's food than a simple African cookbook. Each page contains beautifully photographed dishes as well as National-Geographic quality "articles" about the culture of different African regions, complete with gorgeous pictures of the land and its people. Samuelsson certainly does the continent justice. Now for the recipes-some are surprisingly simple to recreate, such as the corn mashed potatoes, plantain chips, almond cookies and some This book is more of a picture-filled history book of Africa and it's food than a simple African cookbook. Each page contains beautifully photographed dishes as well as National-Geographic quality "articles" about the culture of different African regions, complete with gorgeous pictures of the land and its people. Samuelsson certainly does the continent justice. Now for the recipes-some are surprisingly simple to recreate, such as the corn mashed potatoes, plantain chips, almond cookies and some of the stews. A whole section is dedicated to making special spices. The only problem with this is that many of the recipes call for these spices, which may not be convenient to reproduce in the typical American kitchen (this is another way of saying that I am too lazy to grind my own 12 spice blend for the lentil soup). This cookbook is worth checking out, if only for the articles and pictures. The recipes are an added bonus. If you are tired of all of the American, Italian, and French cuisine, you will be refreshed by these soups, breads, and main dishes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Riley

    As far as I have reviewed them, the recipes are great. However, I really, really hate this trend to make books, especially cookbooks, "arty" by using difficult-to-read color combinations. Thanks goodness the recipes themselves are printed with black letters on white, but the introductory material is some kind of grayscale on paper-bag brown, and "highlighted" ingredient names include a sort of mustard that has a very low contrast with the background page color. Please, have mercy on our middle-a As far as I have reviewed them, the recipes are great. However, I really, really hate this trend to make books, especially cookbooks, "arty" by using difficult-to-read color combinations. Thanks goodness the recipes themselves are printed with black letters on white, but the introductory material is some kind of grayscale on paper-bag brown, and "highlighted" ingredient names include a sort of mustard that has a very low contrast with the background page color. Please, have mercy on our middle-aged eyes!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emelda

    So far, no misses from the recipes I've tried! Of course, everything not animal friendly (i.e., the butter, chicken stock) were replaced with vegan versions. Berbere (p. 12; a spice mix used in Ethiopian cooking)- I made my own from a recipe here and it's great. Yay! Shiro (p. 103)- this was a bit odd on its own (and I don't think it's really suupposed to be eaten by itself) but YUM mixed in with some rice. Mustard Greens & Corn (p. 183) - who knew mustard greens could be SO GOOD? A few changes (so So far, no misses from the recipes I've tried! Of course, everything not animal friendly (i.e., the butter, chicken stock) were replaced with vegan versions. Berbere (p. 12; a spice mix used in Ethiopian cooking)- I made my own from a recipe here and it's great. Yay! Shiro (p. 103)- this was a bit odd on its own (and I don't think it's really suupposed to be eaten by itself) but YUM mixed in with some rice. Mustard Greens & Corn (p. 183) - who knew mustard greens could be SO GOOD? A few changes (some for my stupid American tastebuds): I've never been a fan of ginger, so next time I'm taking that out. My okra went bad before I used it, so that wasn't in it. I couldn't find bird's-eye chilies, so I used thai chilies, which a website recommended. Chicken stock was chicken-flavored, animal friendly stock of course. While I love the taste of coriander seeds, not a huge fan of eating them. Next time I'm using powder or steeping the seeds and taking them out before I eat the soup. Plantain-Coconut Stew (p. 124) - I'd cook the onions before the process starts, they were too crunchy when I followed the recipe, at least. This was the first meh. I'll eat it, for sure, but not going in my recipe book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I want to own this book! I read it cover to cover, and examined every single recipe in it. It is written by an Ethiopian raised in Sweden, who is a chef/owner in New York City who wanted to go back to his roots and also create a cookbook spanning the vast culinary experiences around the Continent. I also read all the fascinating commentary that the author gives throughout the book on the history and culture of past and present African cuisine. Not only was it so much fun to read, it brought back I want to own this book! I read it cover to cover, and examined every single recipe in it. It is written by an Ethiopian raised in Sweden, who is a chef/owner in New York City who wanted to go back to his roots and also create a cookbook spanning the vast culinary experiences around the Continent. I also read all the fascinating commentary that the author gives throughout the book on the history and culture of past and present African cuisine. Not only was it so much fun to read, it brought back many memories of my time in Eastern Africa and also Southern Africa. I also learned so many interesting things. For example, I learned that the Southerners (united states) technique of barbecue originated with the slaves from Western Africa. I also learned that a dish my sister loves from Ghana, called Red-Red, which is made from black-eyed peas, has ties to the U.S. South as well because the slaves introduced black-eyed peas into Southern cooking. While many of the dishes contain ingredients that would be tough to come by cheaply, the book has got to go on my shelf as a hallmark of my love for the wonderful continent that Africa is and the amazing people that live there.

  6. 4 out of 5

    AJ Payne

    I like this cookbook, though many of the meals in it are very complicated and take a long time. So, I haven't made many of them. The explanations are great, the pictures are great, and the idead behind it is great. However, it is quite a high level cookbook and you must have access to some pretty specialized ingredients - and use them! Also, one of my pet peeves about a cookbook is rampant in this one. Many many of the recipes require that you make some other recipe from the book before you even I like this cookbook, though many of the meals in it are very complicated and take a long time. So, I haven't made many of them. The explanations are great, the pictures are great, and the idead behind it is great. However, it is quite a high level cookbook and you must have access to some pretty specialized ingredients - and use them! Also, one of my pet peeves about a cookbook is rampant in this one. Many many of the recipes require that you make some other recipe from the book before you even start (such as a dough, or a spice mix, etc) so the ingredient list is just "One recipe of ______" I don't know why, but I don't like that in cookbooks - so it irritates me here. However, this book fills a niche that is quite empty - African cooking. Of course, with my love of Africa I have to like it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Discovery of a Continent is a gorgeous cookbook that could be a table top book. I was given this book as a gift around the time that I first heard of Marcus Samuelsson. The photos are gorgeous and there is a lot of great information about Africa that includes history as well as the updated recipes. I love food but really wouldnt make any of these recipes because of the time, cost, and ingrediant search required. I have used some of the recipes as idea starts for easier options. The book to beaut Discovery of a Continent is a gorgeous cookbook that could be a table top book. I was given this book as a gift around the time that I first heard of Marcus Samuelsson. The photos are gorgeous and there is a lot of great information about Africa that includes history as well as the updated recipes. I love food but really wouldnt make any of these recipes because of the time, cost, and ingrediant search required. I have used some of the recipes as idea starts for easier options. The book to beautiful to give up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bernadette

    Not vegan, yet as an experienced vegan cook, the recipes I tried were easily veganized. The history of the varying cuisines across the very large, diverse African continent makes for very interesting reading. Similarities and differences of cultures, religious influences and how these shaped the foods/dishes very well presented. Easy to follow instructions, substitution suggestions, and tasty, useful spice blend combinations.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Absolutely amazing. Lucidly written, with an eye toward balancing authenticity with accessibility for an American kitchen. Not mention it's beautifully composed and photographed. I'll be using this one frequently. Absolutely amazing. Lucidly written, with an eye toward balancing authenticity with accessibility for an American kitchen. Not mention it's beautifully composed and photographed. I'll be using this one frequently.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    Incredible book---gorgeous photos, a bit of history, and observations about many aspects of African culture. Recipes are plentiful and lovingly described. I made the ground nut beef stew with okra and it was great. This is a book I'd love to own. Incredible book---gorgeous photos, a bit of history, and observations about many aspects of African culture. Recipes are plentiful and lovingly described. I made the ground nut beef stew with okra and it was great. This is a book I'd love to own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This is a wonderful book to introduce outsiders to the diversity of African Cuisine, which most people assume is not very diverse at all. The recipes, however, did not leave me very inspired to try them in my own kitchen.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Annika

    Delightful read...travel by food. Yum! The recipes take some time and thought and are outstanding. Well written and organized. Beautifully illustrated. Put this one in your kitchen work area...not the coffee table!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Fun to read - great pictures, and interesting recipes. I've only tried a few recipes so far, and found the instructions to be somewhat lacking in detail. Not good for a novice cook, but if you're comfortable in the kitchen and want to try something new, so far everything was delicious. Fun to read - great pictures, and interesting recipes. I've only tried a few recipes so far, and found the instructions to be somewhat lacking in detail. Not good for a novice cook, but if you're comfortable in the kitchen and want to try something new, so far everything was delicious.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I've had good success with the recipes so far (except for one okra one). excellent cookbook. I've had good success with the recipes so far (except for one okra one). excellent cookbook.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Good overview of African cooking, but more of a travelogue in little chunks. Bought as a research book, some great pictures.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    beautiful pictures. time consuming recipes, but i love adventurous cooking.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kassie

    Beautiful. The pictures are amazing. The stories along with the recipes are great. The actual recipes are only so-so, but it is still a must have.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Beautiful photos, interesting text, pretty swell recipes. All you could want in a cookbook inspired by African cuisine. I even already made some honey bread!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Great just to read...but most recipes call for ingredients I can't find around here. Loved, loved, loved reading about Africa, though. Great just to read...but most recipes call for ingredients I can't find around here. Loved, loved, loved reading about Africa, though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark Nicholas

    Inspiring. History, narrative and food all found in one place.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Davenport

    I got this because I loved his memoir. Still haven't cooked anything from it but it's lovely on the shelf. I got this because I loved his memoir. Still haven't cooked anything from it but it's lovely on the shelf.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Would have been 4 stars for flavor, but many recipes are clearly not tested, notably samosas that yielded a dough the consistency of pancake batter that one was instructed to knead.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Made the kefta, pretty good. Not as many Ethiopian recipes as I'd hoped. Would be so nice to have a solid Ethiopian cookbook. Made the kefta, pretty good. Not as many Ethiopian recipes as I'd hoped. Would be so nice to have a solid Ethiopian cookbook.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adeline Lutts

    I got this book from the library and then bought it for myself because I couldn't live without it ! So beautiful, inspiring, daringly different. And the recipes are good!!! I got this book from the library and then bought it for myself because I couldn't live without it ! So beautiful, inspiring, daringly different. And the recipes are good!!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    The Other Chris

    Excellent, and very passionate source of information about the culinary delights Africa has to offer.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I know very little about African cuisine, so I found this fascinating. I especially liked the salads/sides recipes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natashya KitchenPuppies

    My first book of Marcus Samuelsson. Delicious, original and inspiring. I have his new one on order.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Austin

    Really neat book to look at but lots of food I'd never make. Really neat book to look at but lots of food I'd never make.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    unfortunately got out of library, so I need to return. Also need to expand my spice cabinet. The photos are gorgeous! I wish they identified photo by photo where they are.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    What a beautiful book with a wide range of cook-able recipes. Thoroughly enjoyed!

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