Category Archives: The history of food

The evolution of Kenyan cuisine

Historically in the Kenyan cuisine, East and West meet in Nairobi which is the capital city that was born in the late 1880s. The city was born as a result of a railway station which was serving the coast region, the western region and the east African countries with commodities such as; food, spices, mechanical products and such like.

Nairobi gradually became the central point of all sorts of businesses, from agriculture to white collar. Hotels and inns started to develop and business people on transit found other homes away from theirs. Demand for quality food in the restaurants and inns would automatically incline due to competition and also customer`s demands. By this time many homes around the capital were changing with times, food being on the front line of change. Farming of quality produce brought into homes a different way of cooking since agricultural products were plenty in choice and in amounts.

The diet of ordinary people was based on cereals, grains, starches and meats and to some extent some vegetables. There used not to be many meals in a day since not many people were around home during the day. The major meal used to be the evening meal which consisted of a heavy starch and a stew of either meat or vegetables and sometimes a mixture of both.

Because of lack of good knowledge on proper methods of farming and many communities being nomads, a decent crop could not be guaranteed to many homes at that time. While potato, cassava, yam, sweet potato and arrowroot were the principle starch,some maize and wheat found their way into some communities. In addition to this starches and grains, the staple foods were provided by cattle, goats, and birds in form of meat and dairy products. The supply of meat was supplemented by game from the vast forests that covered the region.

Ancient methods of preserving meat was drying and salting, other foods would be kept in the granary that was built on raised ground using wood, this allowed free flow of air from below ensuring chilled a atmosphere inside the granary. This methods helped in keeping food from going bad for longer periods. Other methods of preservation such as smoking come later on during the colonial period but some bush communities used it naively before.

 

 

The history of food

Modern cuisines uses a wide variety of ingredients from all over the world. The intermix¬†of cuisine cultures ,for example a fusion of African and British styles; Indian cuisine has blended with Swahili,and so on. This maybe described as `eclectic` cuisine ,which is the deriving of ideas ,tastes and styles of cooking from various sources. This is as a result of the world getting “smaller” due to fast transport and tourism.

The fusion or eclectic cuisine is not new ,it was practiced in the ancient world where different communities would share foods and styles of cooking . This fusion has been enhanced by globalisation, that is the bringing together of countries,people,cultures and cuisines.