Cooking with love from Tanzania

December 7, 2012 11:15 AM

Aidan Smith

Never had the opportunity to savor the cuisine of Tanzania? Tulane University senior Angela Czesak wants to fix that.  She’s bringing the flavor of that East African nation to the rest of the world in her self-published cookbook, Kupikia Tanzania.


Tanzanian cookbook

Tulane senior Angela Czesak’s self-published cookbook in collaboration with Tanzanian women will support organizations in her adopted community in East Africa. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Czezak has spent significant time volunteering in Africa, most recently thanks to funding from the Newcomb College Institute and the Gordon Summer Fellowship. 

Thinking about how to alleviate some of the economic strain on the groups she worked with while helping friends and family understand her experiences immersed in another culture, Czesak had an idea.

“Everyone always asked what I ate while I was there, and I knew my host mother Glory was a great cook,” she said.

Czesak and several Tanzanian women carved out time three days a week to practice cooking these traditional dishes, sharing culinary techniques as well as their own stories.  

“They were so happy to do the project with me, especially because they got to cook foods that were a bit too pricey for every day, such as the standard rice and beans, or ugali and beans.” Recipes describe dishes like matoke, a stew of beans, plantains and beef, and maandazi, a spiced donut similar to a beignet.

Czesak used digital photography and publishing tools to create Kupikia Tanzania (Swahili for “to cook for Tanzania”). Proceeds will support organizations in her adopted community in the Arusha, Tanzania, area, as well as the women who taught her so much.  

“I started putting the design together while I was there, and they were really proud of how everything turned out,” she said. Czesak hopes to allocate some funds to support higher education opportunities for these women’s daughters.

The cookbook is available online now and soon will be in New Orleans-area bookshops. The deadline to purchase the cookbook for Christmas delivery is Dec. 10.

Aidan Smith is external affairs officer for the Newcomb College Institute.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu