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excerpts from Recipes of All Nations

1935: Countess Marcelle Morphy

Countess Marcelle Morphy is reported to have been a resident of New Orleans. She moved to Great Britain and authored several cookbooks published in the 1930s and 1940s. Some may object to her treatment of Africa as a "General" whole, instead of separate nations (as she does for most of the rest of the world). But she deserves credit for including recipes from Sub-Saharan Africa. (Many "World" cookbooks published decades later include no recipes from Sub-Saharan Africa). This may be the earliest collection of Sub-Saharan African recipes made available by a major English-language publisher. Countess Morphy includes these recipes in the "Africa" section of her 800+ page Recipes of All Nations (New York: Wm. H. Wise & Company, 1935).

Note:

Recipes of all Nations


Compiled & Edited by

COUNTESS MORPHY

NEW YORK

WM. H. WISE & COMPANY

MCMXLIV



AFRICA (GENERAL)

ONE of the best known of all Algerian dishes is the THETCHOUKA, the recipe for which has found its way into several European cookery books. It consists of tomatoes, skinned and simmered till reduced to a pulp, with a little oil or butter, and a few cloves of garlic. To this is added thin strips of green pimientos, previously grilled, and, just before serving, well-beaten eggs are poured over the top and cooked till set.




There is a way of cooking CUTTLEFISH in Algeria which is very reminiscent of the French method of treating sole. The cleaned cuttlefish are soaked in salted water, then boiled, with mixed herbs. After which, they are put in a buttered fireproof dish, with a little white wine, sliced mushrooms, parsley, and dotted with pats of butter. This is put in a moderate oven for a 25 to 30 minutes, and the dish is garnished with slices of lemon.




The Algerian COUSCOUS is different from that of Morocco. It is cooked in the same way but, as mentioned earlier, is made of freshly-ground millet instead of semolina. The meat or fish with which the couscous is served is placed in a large earthenware casserole, with chilli peppers, all kinds of vegetables, sweet manioc, yams, and leaves of the baobab tree. This is an African tree, one of the largest trees known, its stem reaching as much as thirty feet in diameter. Then a copious amount of palm oil or butter is added. All this is simmered for several hours, and served on a hot dish, with the couscous around it. The natives, however, eat it in a more primitive way. Meat, fish, and vegetables are all put, higgledy-piggledy, in an enormous gourd, hollowed out and dried, which they use as a dish. Each one dips his hand in the casserole containing the couscous, takes out a handful, rolls it into a ball, and swallows it, and also helps himself in the same manner to the meat, vegetables, etc.




In Tunisia they have a different version of CHAKCHOUKA. Four or five large onions are browned in oil and, when well browned, the same number of sliced tomatoes are added, and 3 or 4 sweet peppers - pimientos - and 1 small hot pepper. This is simmered till all the vegetables are reduced to a pulp and, when ready, it is put in individual pottery casseroles, an egg is broken on each, and served when the egg has just set.




From Guinea we get some interesting recipes. Their AOUARA SOUP is made from the fruit bearing that name, which closely resembles our blue plums. It is cultivated chiefly for its oil, and the kernel is edible. The soup is made from the pulp. A few tablespoons of the pulp are mixed with 3 quarts of water, and various kinds of vegetables are added to it--cabbage, eggplant, spinach, as well as a thick slice of salt pork, fried fish, shrimps, large crabs, and sometimes salt cod. All this is simmered for three hours, and served with plain boiled rice or with a dish of cooked manioc flour.




FRICASSEE OF IGUANA is another favorite dish in Guinea. The iguana is a large, edible lizard which is prepared in various ways--roasted, grilled, or in the oven. At certain times of the year, when the females are full of eggs, it is much esteemed, as the eggs are considered a great delicacy. The back only of the animal is used for this fricassee, which is delicious. The pieces of iguana are cooked in hot butter in a casserole and, when browned, a little flour is sprinkled over them. When the whole is browned, a little water is added, as well as parsley, bayleaf, and thyme, and a few small onions. This is simmered for about 3/4 hour, the eggs being added only a few minutes before serving.




They have a way of cooking SPINACH which is quite pleasant. The spinach is washed in the usual way, but the leaves are not removed from the stalks. The spinach is cooked in salted oil or butter and, when slightly browned, it is covered with hot water. Salt pork, cut in dice, fried fish, and shrimp are added, and the whole is simmered till the water has evaporated.




DOCONO is a sweet from Guinea. It consists of coarse semolina, cooked in sweetened milk with sliced bananas, and flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. It is served either hot or cold.




The great national dish of the Ivory Coast is the FOUTOU, which consists of yams, boiled in water, peeled and pounded in a mortar, and highly seasoned with salt, pepper, red peppers, and grated nutmeg. This is eaten with either a chicken or meat fricassee cooked in palm oil.




The national dish in Dahomey [Benin], although of Portuguese origin, has been considerably modified, as neither palm oil, manioc, nor peppers were originally used by the Portuguese. MOKOTO consists of the tripe and feet of certain animals which, after having been thoroughly washed, scalded, etc., in the approved European manner, are first of all simmered for several hours. After which they are put in an earthenware casserole and lightly browned in palm oil. They are then sprinkled with flour, and sliced onions and tomatoes are added. The seasoning consists of garlic, mixed herbs, and a copious amount of small chilli peppers. It is simmered for several hours, and always served with manioc flour, which is sprinkled on the fricassee.




Another national dish of Dahomey is the CALALOU. In a large and deep earthenware casserole or marmite the following ingredients are put: Beef, mutton, pork, chicken, duck, sometimes game, dried fish, shrimp, spinach, okra, and tomatoes. These are cooked in palm oil till the meat is easily removed from the bones, with a seasoning of salt, and very hot pepper.




SENEGALESE RICE is as popular a dish in Senegal as the couscous. It can be made with meat, chicken or fish. The pork, mutton, or chicken is cut in somewhat large pieces, and the fish also. The pieces of meat or fish are first of all fried in oil with a chopped onion, seasoned with salt and pepper and, when well browned, they are covered with hot water and seasoned with chilli pepper or cayenne, cloves, and other spices. Then all kinds of vegetables are added, and always very small marrows and tomatoes. All this is simmered till tender-the meat, of course, takes longer than the fish. When done, the meat and vegetables are removed from the stock and kept hot. The rice- unpolished rice is used-is cooked in the stock, which should not only cover it but be quite two inches above the rice. This is simmered till the rice has absorbed all the stock and is quite dry and flaky. If the rice "catches" and is slightly burnt in the bottom of the pan the natives are delighted, as this is considered a relish. The rice when done is put into a large gourd with the meat or fish and the vegetables.




Another African dish, KALALOUM, consists of a chicken, cut in joints, cooked in oil, served with boiled rice, dry and flaky, and portions of coconut, pounded green pimientos, peanuts, a quartered orange, and yams. This is all mixed on the plate with the chicken.




From the Congo comes an attractive way of cooking CHICKEN WITH PEANUTS. The chicken is cooked ill a covered casserole, with plenty of oil and butter. When nearly done it is covered with a kind of peanut sauce, made by first of all roasting the peanuts, removing shell and skin; pounding in a mortar, and cooking in water to the consistency of a very thick puree. The chicken is then cooked for another few minutes.




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


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