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Africa owes a debt of gratitude to Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 08:54 AM
Original message
Africa owes a debt of gratitude to Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern
No, really.

Today I read and responded to yet another post by a DUer that takes as an underlying assumption that Africans only eat because western charities feed them.

This shit is unbelievable, but it's an extraordinary widespread belief here on DU. Most people seem to think that Africans used to run through the jungle naked catching and eating wild animals (plus the occasional missionary) and now that they can't do that, they simply wait on their haunches for white people to distribute food aid to them.

Most DUers get almost all their information about Africa from "Feed the Children" pity fests.

How many posts have you read about starving Africans? As though being African and starving are pretty much synonymous?

Although it's just light entertainment, I have to give it to Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern for their shows on the Travel Channel. Both of them basically travel around the world and sample other cultures' cuisines. Both tend to emphasize the strange, but Bourdain also eats home cooking and high end dining, while Zimmern focuses almost exclusively on the strange (hence the name of his show, Bizarre Food).

But both have traveled to and eaten in Africa and what comes across in their shows there, which must be a revelation to people with DU's level od knowledge is, HOLY COW! Most Africans are farmers. They grow their own food! They sell food in markets! Most Africans are eating food grown by Africans! They make wine and beer and eat and drink and have a good time like people from all over the world! Most of the food tastes really good!

I just wish I could acknowledge them somehow for performing this small service.

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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
1. ethiopian food is some of the most amazing food i have had
i think to a degree the problem is about talking about africa as though its one country and not a continent w.different countries and cultures, each with their unique positives/negatives. just like every other country anywhere else in the world
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Sad how poverty causes us to eat better here in a way
Edited on Fri May-08-09 11:46 AM by HamdenRice
Many Ethiopians came here as a result of recurring famines and the terrible, violent dictatorship of the Derg regime of the 70s.

The restaurants at first catered to the immigrant/refugee population. So we get their great cuisine added to our melting pot.

Some of my best friends in the 80s were Ethiopians. What a culture! I was tempted to specialize in it, but unlike South African culture, I was advised it's almost impenetrable unless you grew up in it. My Ethiopian friends told me the language is simply too indirect for most foreigners ever to master.

They told me that in the villages, Ethiopian coffee is occasionally ritually served to the senior men in a form so concentrated and powerful that it is a hallucinogen, and the users go into mystical trances for days without sleeping.

So it's certainly true that the various countries are different, and Ethiopia is as different from everywhere else as they come.

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. Agree
What very little is known about Africa (reports show that a significant percentage of US students can't identify all 50 states, much less find Africa on a map) revolves around along with the pity-mercials and famine-fests and fiction, incl.---









Based on that, no thanks to the shoddy US media and education system, one would think that were no African cultures before the European imperialist powers arrived to carve up the continent like a Thanksgiving turkey. The various cultures have survived centuries and in spite of the imperialists. Thanks to the Travel Channel for putting a face and cultural context to the "Dark Continent."
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Tarzan. I don't know where to begin
but like many people my age, I remember going to the movies as a black boy and thinking that that was what Africa really was like.
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Don't forget this one, Brewman
Edited on Fri May-08-09 05:09 PM by Number23
Looks just like the original!

:eyes:

The shoddy US media and education system are definitely culprits, but as I say and have said for as long as I can remember, "never underestimate the power of racism." There is a reason that even with our crappy educational system, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who knows as much about Africa or Asia (unless that's where their families are from) as they do about Europe in the United States. The concept of white supremacy upon which this country was founded would not allow it, although I do believe that this is starting to change.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. Wikipedia has a good article on African cuisine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_of_Africa#Central_...

I also am a fan of Ethiopian food, one of the most interesting cuisines around.

I've eaten at some good West African restaurants, too. I've actually been to Morocco, a long time ago, and have been eating couscous ever since.

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