The Ghana Cookbook Review: How well is Ghana’s rich food culture captured in a book?


Hospitality/Tourism/Food and Travel


Cookbooks are special kind books bringing the tantalizing warmth home-cooked meals to our homes. The

I think everyone should at least have home cooked meals on weekends. Meals cooked at home are cheaper and healthier than fancy dished slathered in fat, sugar and salt. They are also recommended for result-oriented weight loss journeys, not forgetting to constitute allergy-free foods. But for me, the ultimate is spending time with my family over a home cooked dinner.

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The first thing about the Ghana Cookbook that caught my eye was its terrific layout and categorically labeled recipes. Then on further research, it revealed that one of the authors who co-authored, wasn’t a native of the motherland, I was taken aback. Fran Osseo-Asare, a white America woman, found love for Ghanaian food when her life intertwined with a Ghanaian man. And as we say in Ghana, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. More than 43 experience together with the epitome of Ghana food culture, Barbara Baeta, birthed this wonderful classical piece of writing.

Then I found the Ghana Cookbook in my cousin’s kitchen. After eyeing the hardcover for more than an hour, I finally picked it up. And haven’t placed it done since. Names and measurements of ingredients are so consistent it’s almost organismic. All their recipes follow the same structure, which makes it easy to implement.

And now to the main attraction, the featured Ghanaian cuisine. As a staunch Ghanaian am awfully awry about cookbooks especially those depicting African cuisines. Mainly because most of these writers put all of Africa into one space and fail to realize the individuality in the continent. In Ghana’s 10 regions, each region houses two or more ethnicities with varied food culture. So treating Africa’s food culture in such limited scope is personally insulting.

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And that’s where this wonderful cookbook stands tall above the rest. The Ghana Cookbook doesn’t overwhelm the cook with recipes made up of unfamiliar ingredients and techniques. Aside from its engaging recipe headnotes, there’s a whole section designed to acquaint the reader with Ghanaian cooking.

This part may sound selfish but I personally love the Ghana Cookbook because it features all my favorite dishes. Banku, all the different kinds of kenkey, groundnut soup and almighty slimy adorable okro stew. I also make my own refreshing hibiscus punch locally known as bissap from the beverage section. There’s also something for the sweet tooth, just run along to the ‘candy, desserts and baked goods’ section.

Give me all the time in the world, and I would still be talking about the Ghana Cookbook every day. It’s simply amazing! It’s absolutely inclusive irrespective of your location on the map. It takes you through ingredients that can be substituted with local ones to give you the same great tasting dish. How amazing is that? I think I will leave that part of this review to my aunty living in the states. She tells it better.

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The Ghana Cookbook perfectly sums up Ghana’s rich food culture in a book. Growing up in my mother’s kitchen, watching her eyeball her ingredients, it was quite difficult to achieve consistent taste or flavor. To find something that gives. The recipes in cookbooks have been tried, tested and succeeded. And this is my own kitchen speaking.

I recommend the Ghana Cookbook to everyone, whether new to the food scene or a seasoned veteran, to reconnoiter parts of our beautiful culture.


Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baeta