2000 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.
everything was cooked with red palm oil, Maggi chicken bullion cubes, and an incredible
amount of hot red pepper. It wasn't just hot, it made tears well up in your
eyes and stream down your cheeks until you acquired a taste for it. I loved
it immediately . . . well, half of it.
The two main
foods prepared in Liberia were cassava and rice. There are so many ways
to prepare cassava. It can be boiled, grilled, baked, grated into a cereal,
fried, pounded, and even eaten raw. I didn't like any of them and it didn't
take long to vow I'd never allow it to enter my kitchen door. Fortunately,
I loved what Liberians did with rice. A wide variety of soups were prepared
to serve on top of mountains of rice. The recipes I include here are some
of my favorites that my friends made for me whenever I invited them to my house.
That was the deal; they had a good meal, but they had to show me how to prepare
it. In addition to Cassava Leaves Soup,
Beans Gravy Soup, Pumpkin
Soup, and Jollof Rice, there are some
other recipes located on my Links page. I was able to find all the needed
ingredients in Ohio at a Korean Grocery. If I can manage that, so can you.
Preparation for a meal was no small task.
There were no microwaves or fast food restaurants. It took three hours to
prepare a meal. The rice had to be pounded in a mortar (as seen in the
above cartoon) and then a fanner basket was used to separate the grain from the
chaff. Meals were cooked over a coal pot, sort of like a hibachi, with charcoal.
Frequently I was ready to leave the home of a friend when he insisted I
stay for dinner. It was a test of patience when I realized none of the preparations
had yet begun. However, I had parents who insisted on manners and
the food was always good -- if it wasn't cassava.