Why we should go back to eating traditional foods

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Read full article by Kivutha Kibwana@Daily Nation Photo: NM Group

Imagine a Sunday afternoon after church or any other day of rest. A family goes to a fast food joint for lunch in an urban setting. The menu: chips and deep-fried chicken or pizza. Alternatively, they could opt for nyama choma (roast meat of assorted variety) and ugali (usually refined maize flour ugali) and/or white chapati with a vegetable dish such as stir-fried kales (sukuma wiki) and kachumbari (salad).


Another urban favourite is white rice and meat stew. These would be accompanied by soda, and for the children ice cream. For breakfast the family may have taken bread, eggs and tea.

During the holiday season, the same family may visit their rural home. The relatives would probably offer a traditional menu such as whole maize flour ugali; sorghum, finger millet and cassava ugali – or a mixture thereof, eaten with sour milk or a myriad of vegetables such as cabbage, terere, managu, kunde, mchicha etc. with a meat or fish side dish. In the rural areas, githeri, njahi, muthokoi, mukimo of various types are also served. For breakfast, porridge from various grains (maize, sorghum, finger millet, cassava, bulrush millet or a mixture of any of these) is also on offer as well as sweet potatoes, boiled green maize or cassava, pumpkin and arrow root.

David Mbiri Rimi, in his book New Confident Africa: A New Social- Economic Morality, observes: “Africa, without doubt, has the largest variety of food crops for human consumption among all regions of the world, ranging from succulent fruit, grains, tubers to nuts and vegetables.” The food crops, he argues, “contain more than two food groups in their chemical composition, making them exceptionally rich in nutritional value”.


Posted on

December 2, 2019

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