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books (etc.) most often purchased by our visitors


The Congo Cookbook is an affiliate. This means that The Congo Cookbook earns commissions whenever visitors to this site click through from this website to and buy things. (Please do!) To make it easy, The Congo Cookbook contains links to a variety of products that we hope will be of interest to our visitors; for example, cookbooks of African recipes and books about Africa -- excerpts from some of these are featured on this website. As an affiliate, we can see reports that show which products were purchased by people that clicked through from this website. (note: we can see which products were purchased, but no information about who purchased them.)

Over the past several years, these have been some of The Congo Cookbook bestsellers:

  1. What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking
    by Mrs. Abby Fisher.
    Who is Mrs. Fisher? A former slave, Mrs.Fisher came from Mobile, Alabama and began cooking for San Francisco society in the late 1870s. By her own account, neither she nor her husband could read or write and she had already been cooking for over thirty-five years when the book was written down, presumably by another person. Not only is this a collection of authentic and tasty recipes from the old South, but more important, this is the oldest known Black cookbook published in America. This important collection of 160 authentic old Southern recipes was originally published in San Francisco in 1881 . . . This book contains informative and authoritative notes by culinary historian Karen Hess. (from back cover)

  2. The Silver Palate Cookbook
    by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.
    The Silver Palate, a small but notable New York eatery, won several national awards and distributed their packaged goods to fine food stores across the country. Owners Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook so that lovers of their chunky apple cake with cider glaze or their fruit-stuffed Cornish hens can re-create these dishes at home. In addition to a lively collection of recipes that are suitable for both entertaining and everyday, there are valuable menu and serving suggestions, literary quotes, food guides, food lore and whimsical illustrations by Ms. Lukins. (

  3. The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook
    by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.
    From the authors of The Silver Palate Cookbook (2.2 million copies in print), here is THE SILVER PALATE GOOD TIMES COOKBOOK. This time the authors focus on entertaining company and making any occasion special with the right ingredients and imagination. With the same spirit and culinary daring that catapulted the first Silver Palate Cookbook into over 700,000 homes, the GOOD TIMES COOKBOOK brings to each season a sense of the memorable. Dinner a deux becomes a fireside clambake. Spring is heralded with early chevres, curry bread, glasses of chablis. Summer sizzles with swordfish barbecue, while autumn refreshes with wild mushroom forays and the crunch of favorite nuts. And to round out the year, there's the splendid formality of Broiled Oysters with Arugula Puree and an elegant Dacquoise. Throughout, Sheila Lukins's charming illustrations highlight the more than 450 recipes, menus, and unexpected pairings. Sidebars and marginalia resolve the dilemmas of modern entertaining -- whether Beaujolais is lusty enough for lamb, which cheeses start a meal and which end it with a flourish, how to make the presentation of food as lush as the taste. (Workman)

  4. Good Things to Eat
    by Rufus Estes.
    First printed in 1911, Rufus Estes's Good Things to Eat is the work of a former slave and the first African American chef to write--let alone publish--a cookbook. Estes rose in life to become a chef to two presidents, European royalty, Pullman Private Car travelers, and late-19th-century celebrities such as "Bet-a-Million" Gates. His cookbook, reissued in facsimile with the addition of 56 period images, is a remarkable window; through it we can view the food of an era, the fine and everyday cooking (the two overlap) of its time. Readers interested in American history, culinary and otherwise, and in encountering one of its singular personalities will embrace the book. Here Estes shares some of his 600 evocative dishes, the labor, he notes, of years: Chicken Timbales, Celery and Nut Salad, Tomato Soup (three kinds, one prepared with corned-beef stock), Rechauffé of Finnan Haddie, Boston Baked Beans, Lamb Curry, and Creamed Spaghetti (the pasta in a white sauce). There are stuffing recipes for duck, rabbit, fish, goose, pig, and turkey, two of which, clearly designed for Estes's carriage trade, contain truffles. A chapter on bread specialties includes recipes for Rye Breakfast Cakes, Graham Bread, Oriental Oatmeal Bread (inexplicably named, as its only "exotic" ingredient is molasses), Quick Muffins in Rings, and, simply, dearly,"A Pan of Rolls." This everyday breakfast item, to be started the night before, contains sugar, lard, and butter. The sweets chapters--there are three--reveal the vast range of early 20th-century "dainties" and include Baltimore Cake (two versions), Snippodoodles (thin, cinnamon-flavored cookies), Crullers, Cranberry Sherbet, and Maple Parfait. While written in the abbreviated style typical of the time, the recipes could be made by cooks with the kitchen experience Estes justifiably assumed of his audience. This is a lovely, instructive, and, considering the history of it author, moving book--a vivid look at a near but totally vanished American past. (

  5. The Virginia Housewife; or, Methodical Cook
    by Mary Randolph, edited by Karen Hess.
    The first cookbook published in America. Now published in a facsimile form of the original 1824 work, this ultimate how-to cookbook was the most influential cookbook in nineteenth-century America. Regarded by many as the finest cookbook to ever come out of the American kitchen, it was written by Mary Randolph. She and her husband, David Meade Randolph, made their home at Moldavia in Richmond and were celebrated for their displays of lavish hospitality. She was qualified not only by her cooking skill but also by her family and social milieu to record the cookery of those early days of Virginia. Besides numerous recipes and household tips on such things as curing bacon, making lavender water, scented soap, and starch, the book also includes historical notes by culinary historian Karen Hess, and a glossary of cooking terms and phrases of the time. (University of South Carolina Press)

  6. Authentic African Cuisine from Ghana
    by David Otoo and Tamminay Otoo.
    Arranged in an easy-to-follow format, the book opens with a discussion of the history, culture, and traditions of Ghana. The text features soups, stews and sauces, breakfast porridge, side dishes, salads, fruits, and desserts to relay a vivid overview of the complexion and intriguing flavour of Ghanaian victuals. Additionally the book discusses unique ways to prepare fish, it contains suggested menus for Kwanzaa and other festive celebrations, and extend a distinctive array of dishes featuring plantains, yams and cassava. "Authentic African Cuisine from Ghana" is written in a clear language with careful direction and displays an intelligent record of traditional African cooking. (Sankofa)

  7. At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England
    by Walter Dean Myers.
    Once there was a little girl -- an orphaned African princess -- who narrowly escaped death by human sacrifice in a West African village in 1850. A British sea captain named Frederick E. Forbes saved her life by talking King Gezo of Dahomey into giving the girl to Queen Victoria of England as a gift: "She would be a present from the King of the blacks to the Queen of the Whites." As impossible as this tale sounds, it is a true one. Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers--piecing together her story from letters he found in a rare book and ephemera shop in London--paints a hauntingly detached portrait of the small African princess whom the heroic captain named Sarah Forbes Bonetta. We follow her charmed but unlucky life as the Queen's protégée through a succession of British middle-class households, beginning with the Forbes home. Because of her celebrated association and frequent visits with the Queen, Sarah grows up in an unusual position of privilege, education, and celebrity. On the flip side, she is keenly aware that her decisions are not her own, and as a rescued orphan under the Queen's protection, her life's path is dictated by those acting in what they perceive to be her best interests. It is hard not to feel that it was cruel of her protectors to wrench her (more than once in her life) from the adopted family she adores, and eventually to encourage her to marry a West African businessman whom she clearly stated she could never love, and who would take her away from her adopted country. As the epilogue states, "She was both unfortunate in her losses, and fortunate that those losses were not greater . . . . She seemed to find a measure of comfort wherever she was, but was destined to be apart from the world in which she lived." This story, rich with historic prints, photographs, newspaper clippings, excerpts from Queen Victoria's diary, and Sarah's letters, is both fascinating and tragic. We have Myers to thank for rescuing this fine woman again--this time from the forgotten shelf of a London bookstore. (

  8. The African Cookbook
    by Bea Sandler.
    Presents menus and recipes from eleven African countries, with serving hints and complete shopping lists, and includes additional recipes for appetizers, soups, fish, poultry, beef, side dishes, salads, breads, and desserts. (

  9. The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent
    by Jessica B. Harris.
    Shows us how big this continent truly is (three times the landmass of Europe; 1,000 different languages); how incredibly ancient its history is; how grand and majestic is the sweep of cooking styles and food flavors that shift from north to south, east to west; and how up-to-the-minute and relevant those food and flavor experiences can be. As with any of Harris's previous books, the reader can savor equal portions of eye-opening scholarship, delectable storytelling, and delicious recipes. The book is divided into chapters that discuss the edible history of Africa, the range of food regions in Africa, a glossary of African ingredients and utensils, and an argument that the much vaunted Mediterranean diet needs to look south for its origins. Recipe chapters fall along traditional lines: appetizers, salads and soups, condiments, vegetables, main dishes, breads and starches, desserts, and beverages--and include dishes from all over the continent. You will find the likes of Sardine Fritters (Algeria), Avocado and Papaya Salad (Kenya), Pili Pili Sauce (western Africa), Mashed Eggplant à la Zeinab (Sudan), and Grilled Shrimp Pili Pili (Mozambique). Africa, Harris argues, isn't the Dark Continent, but the "continent about which we are in the dark." Use The Africa Cookbook to taste your way into the light. (

  10. "My Cooking" West-African Cookbook
    by Dokpe L. Ogunsanya.
    "My Cooking" West-African Cookbook is the most comprehensive selection of simple but authentic West-African recipes ever published in the United States. The cookbook offers a fascinating glimpse into the West-African kitchens. The book includes authentic easy recipe pages, colorful photos, etc. The book comes handy as an educational tool and makes for an interesting reading if used in the classroom or as a source for personal growth on the subject area if used outside the classroom. (Book Description)

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