Edible Continents V: Africa!

This week we wrapped up our geographic survey of Africa with our most ambitious, but least enthusiastically received, edible maps. It seems we bit off more than we could chew (sorry) with these maps in which we tried to incorporate something of the flavors of an entire continent.

Here's what we did. For our base land masses, we made Ethiopian injera bread. Previously, we've made pseudo-injera bread using white or whole wheat flour and club soda as a leavening agent, but this time in a quest for authenticity, I made a more traditional injera sour-dough batter with teff flour and allowed it to ripen for a few days before we used it. After cooking, each child cut a piece to resemble the continent (plus Madagascar, of course!)

The injera bread wasn't bad, though it certainly had a different taste from other flat breads we've tried. 

But things started to get gustatorially complicated  when we added the toppings, each representing a different ecosystem:
grasslands: mesir wat (Ethiopia)
savannah/bush: mashed sweet potatoes
jungle: Botswannan spinach 
mountains: peanuts
desert: Kenyan ground beef curry
Mediterranean/coastal: yogurt

We found recipes from Extending the Table, a wonderful collection of dishes largely from Mennonite missionaries around the world, written in a similar style to the More With Less cookbook. This is one of my favorite book of international dishes because it covers everyday foods eaten around the world. 

By the way, if you are looking for international recipes or information about dietary customs in various countries, check out the Food in Every Country website. I ran across this site recently and think it looks pretty promising.  

Here's what one finished map looked like:

We really liked each individual dish, but somehow, the composite effect was not as pleasing. Nonetheless, I was happy for the kids to try some new flavors. Everyone had to eat with their fingers and feed their neighbor at least one bite, traditions in parts of north Africa.

While they ate, several of the kids played 10 Days in Africa

This is a terrific strategy game! You draw ten cards, then have to make connections by walking from one contiguous country to another, or driving to countries a bit further apart, or flying from one country to another. Driving requires a car card, and flying requires an airplane of the same color as both countries you are connecting. I like the fast pace and the fact that I can join in for a single round which might be completed in 15 minutes. Other versions of the game exist for different continents. Highly recommended as a way to painlessly gain familiarity with a continent! 

We're down to just two more edible versions of continents, and I'm pretty confident those are going to have more kid- appeal than did our Africa maps. Next up: Australia!


Kristen Wegener said…
I'm glad you went for the teff flour and it tasted OK. But I'm sorry the rest of it didn't turn our fantastic. They looked really cool!
I hope Australia goes well.

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