Show and Tell: Serendipitous Spoons

February 02, 2012
By Holly Jennings

At the moment of transition from one DCCC pick to the next, new exciting cookbook, I always want to linger a bit more with the old one. After several weeks of cooking and reading, I develop a relationship with the author, the book, and the recipes, and, in the case of 70 Traditional African Recipes, a newfound taste for the food. Each book becomes a familiar (more…)

Cooking Outside the Comfort Zone

January 27, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Authentic Classic Dishes from all over Africa Adapted for the Western Kitchen
By Rosamund Grant
Southwater Books
96 pp.

In melting-pot America with a choice of restaurants reflecting our global world, it can be difficult for adventurous and seasoned eaters to find entire cuisines, flavor profiles, or ingredients that are wholly new to them. Yet, beyond Ethiopian and Moroccan, most Americans, including DCCC members, surely have little idea of what comprises African cooking. So it is with nearly blank palates, that we approached the most recent DCCC pick.

The flavor, ingredients, and techniques of African cooking took us out of familiar territory, pushing (more…)

What Do You Think of the Current DCCC Pick?

January 24, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Below are questions for individual pondering or group discussion, and for anyone or any club that’s been cooking and reading the Dowdy Corners Cookbook Club’s most recent pick, 70 Traditional African Recipes by Rosamund Grant.

If you have read and/or cooked from 70 Traditional African Recipes, I’d love to hear what you think of the book.


This book takes a wide view of African cooking, jumping from (more…)

One-Pot Joloff Rice

January 21, 2012
By Holly Jennings

A cookbook devoted to all of the great rice dishes of the world. Now that would be a dream project: Traveling from country to country researching the most authentic versions along with the myriad regional variations, traditional and contemporary, that would surely exist. Such rice dishes, where every biteful (more…)

What Are the Chances?

January 14, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Last evening, less than an hour after posting a story about Joloff Rice, I wound my way slowly home on the 3-mile stretch of dirt road, snow covered and windblown, that connects us to asphalt.

Parked directly in front of our garage was a (more…)

Joloff Rice—Fancy Style

January 13, 2012
By Holly Jennings


The Indians have turmeric, the Europeans, beets, and the Africans, palm oil—an intensely colored oil extracted from the fruits of the oil palm that adds a shot of deep orange-red color to whatever food it touches, including this (more…)

African Drinking Chocolate

January 02, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Grains of Paradise. This, the most poetic and beguiling of the names for melegueta, a pungent spice native to West Africa, has finally found a place in my kitchen.

I learned of grains of paradise years ago in an early colonial hearth cooking class. The instructor, clad in a period-style dress, had many antique props, one of which was an ornate wooden spice box. The fineness of its craftsmanship mirrored the (more…)

A Soup for Peanut Lovers

December 15, 2011
By Holly Jennings

Does two of anything make a trend? If so, peanut soup is trending in Vermont, where I live. I’ve enjoyed peanut butter–pumpkin soup at the nearby South Royalton Market, and peanut curry soup at Cockadoodle Pizza Café in the neighboring town of Bethel, where it was recently the soup of the day. Both were delicious and spicy.

Peanut soup is not a trend, however, in the Southern United States, and, (more…)

Collards—from Sir Prince to Ethiopia

November 30, 2011
By Holly Jennings

It was at 2551 Kennilworth Road in Cleveland where I had my first taste of collard greens. They were a gift from “Sir Prince,” who dated Miss Anna Szolnoky in apartment 2B, across the hall from me. A retired school teacher who still sometimes substitute taught, Anna evoked another age: She typically wore dresses, accentuating a (more…)