West Africa boasts one of the world's most influential cuisines. Its impact can be seen throughout the Black diaspora, from the Caribbean to Latin America to the U.S. Now, as Atlas Obscura reports, anyone can explore the cuisine's recipes and history using a free online library called Feast Afrique.
Food historian and blogger Ozoz Sokoh launched Feast Afrique in January 2021 after working on the project for the better part of a decade. Born in Nigeria and currently residing in Canada, Sokoh is passionate about her culture's cuisine. In 2020, she collected roughly 200 digital books on African and African-inspired food. These texts became the basis of her online archive.
Feast Afrique has just as much to offer history buffs as it does food fanatics. The texts—which come from such free resources as The Internet Archive, HathiTrust, and The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine—date back to 1828. Readers will find the earliest documented recipe for jollof rice from the 1910 cookbook Practical West African Cookery, as well as early recipes for Southern cornbread and Creole gumbo. In addition to recipes, the library contains writing that gives important context to how West African cuisine was impacted by the Atlantic slave trade.
"African, African-American and African-inspired knowledge are not often acknowledged in culinary practice," the introduction to the website reads. "I want people to know this and see that African culinary excellence exists because it’s hard to know who you are without knowing your history."
You can access the more than 190 books and collections in the digital library at FeastAfrique.com.
[h/t Atlas Obscura]