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from: Central Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering

Chicken in Cumin Sauce

An easy-to-make chicken stew. Cumin is a popular spice in Africa. See also: Beef in Cumin Sauce.

woman with baby on vine bridge over river, west africa

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Leo Africanus

Salt is in very short supply

Common table salt is now available all over the world, but in the past it was rare and valuable in many places. (The English word "salary" comes from the Latin word for "salt".) Leo Africanus (born Al-Hasan Ibn Muhammad Al-Wazzan Az-Zayyati, 1485-1554) wrote The Description of Africa in 1526 and remarked on salt's value in Timbuktu.

Grain and animals are abundant, so that the consumption of milk and butter is considerable. But salt is in very short supply because it is carried here from Tegaza, some 500 miles from Timbuktu. I happened to be in this city at a time when a load of salt sold for eighty ducats.
(Description of Timbuktu)


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African Proverb

Enkyienne nse nehu nse ; miye de. (Oji) : The salt will not say of itself, "I have a pleasant taste." N.B. -- Meaning, that self-praise is no recommendation.
  (from: Wit and Wisdom from West Africa, Richard Francis Burton)

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