Years ago, I had the opportunity to work with some university students as they learned how to prepare food in institutional portions. One year, we had an African student who was a really good cook. Her stews were much like we cook, but the flavors were intensely spiced. They weren't too hot, just perfect combinations.
My interest was sparked this summer, after binge watching the television miniseries, "The Book of Negroes." I won't give away the storyline, but there is a significant amount of information about Sierra Leone. It was a place where freed negro slaves could be returned without danger. Over time, it was inhabited by many cultures, so the food culture is a real blend of ethnic favorites.
All this prompted a themed family meal. Our 'Safari Supper' was lots of fun. We ate on tinware, just like we would if we were camping! The recipes came from a variety of internet sites and I included a couple things that my meat and potatoes son-in-law would love!
Before you read farther, you might want to take a look at my post about Abayomi African Dolls. Making these neat dolls prompted the meal, too!
I do these meals to provide training ground for Miss Phoebe. I want her to know history and the impact it has had on our lives. We had a big conversation about sweet potatoes and the importance of growing them in developing countries.
We did this when Phoebe's mother was growing up and I'm proud of the results! I think I'll keep my good habits!
Let's take a look at the whole table, then we can look at each element. Phoebe created this tablescape using things we have in our vast collection! The table runner is a sort of jungle print pattern with lots of green and pink in it! We added our big jug of silk flowers that are the perfect colors.
I have a collection of wooden animals that came from Kenya, via a favorite antique store! This giraffe is definitely my favorite.
Look at the other animals. They are so wonderful! I made the clothing for the little doll wearing the tiny sand dollar necklace. The big doll in orange came from a collectible shop and a couple of our Abayomi dolls are pictured too. This cluster was on the end of our table.
Take a look at the cute napkin rings ... also wooden safari animals!
Now take a look at the table filled with all the food containers! The cut teal speckled pots came from World Market this summer! I couldn't resist them (and they were way on sale) for this dinner!
On to the food ...
We started with the mussels! So easy to fix and such a great start to a meal! Phoebe started eating clams with her Papa Joe when she was just three years old! She still loves them!
The Tanzanian Stew was the favorite! We always love sweet potatoes and the Boboti is just like 'hamburger hash' that we've made forever ... spiced a little differently! I added curry powder and dried orange rind to my normal beef stew recipe and it was scrumptious! Jollof rice can be purchased in a package with the seasoning in the bag! The green beans and red cabbage were roasted in a spritz of olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
And ... here's the MONKEY PUDDING! A little whimsy with every meal. Our favorite banana pudding made the old-fashioned way with vanilla wafers! Each serving had an animal perched in the topping!
I'll share this post on a few blog parties, so make sure you click through to see the other party-goers!