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excerpts from The Avon International Cookbook

1983: Avon

Avon sales representatives sell cosmetic and jewelry products in over 100 countries. Various recipes collected from Avon representatives all over the world are presented in The Avon International Cookbook (Des Moines, IA: Meredith Publishing, 1983). All of the recipes are tested and approved by the Better Homes and Gardens ® Test Kitchen. These two, from Nigeria, are the only ones from Africa.

The Avon International Cookbook

Meredith Publishing, 1983


In a whirlwind of change and progress in Nigeria, food customs are changing, too. Fish is becoming more popular, an important switch for a country where chicken has long been the main protein food. Meals are usually based on a stew or soup accompanied by a starchy food, such as rice, yams, plantains, and bananas. One of the most popular chicken-rice recipes is Jollof Rice, which has become the traditional Sunday dinner dish in many homes and restaurants. Sauces are often thickened with bean or yam puree and spiced with red peppers. Coconut is a staple in every kitchen. It's not just for dessert or candy, but is an ingredient in sauces and is served fresh as an accompaniment to the main course. Even the coconut milk is used in cooking.

Groundnut Stew

English colonists called peanuts groundnuts, giving this celebrated West African dish its unusual name.

  • 1 2½- to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • Mashed sweet potatoes or hot cooked rice

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven brown chicken pieces in hot oil about 15 minutes; remove from pan. Set aside, reserving drippings. Add beef, onion, and green pepper to drippings; cook till beef is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, salt, and red pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken pieces; simmer 20 minutes more. In small saucepan melt peanut butter over low heat. Stir into chicken mixture. Return mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 20 minutes more. Skim off fat. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes or hot cooked rice. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Jollof Rice

  • 1 2½- to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 16-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ground cinnamon, or dried thyme, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon snipped parsley

In a large skillet brown chicken pieces on both sides in hot oil about 15 minutes; remove from skillet. Set chicken aside, reserving drippings. Add the onion to drippings; cook till tender but not brown. Drain off fat. Return chicken to skillet. Combine undrained tomatoes, chicken broth; bay leaf; ginger, cinnamon, or thyme; salt; and ground red pepper. Pour over chicken. Do not stir. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off fat. Add the rice, making sure all the rice is covered with liquid. Cover; simmer for 30 minutes more or till rice is tender. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle with snipped parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Jollof Rice originated in French colonial Africa, The subtle combination flavors compares to the chicken jambalaya served in New Orleans homes.

The Rare Recipes pages contain African and African-inspired recipes from antique and out-of-print cookbooks.

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