Compare and Contrast the difference and similarities between American dishes and African traditional dishes.
American Dishes and African Traditional Dishes
American dishes are commonly made up of different ingredients such as beef, turkey, crab, clams, tomatoes, corn, pecans, pumpkins and grits topped up with different flavors and spices. The vast migration of people from different regions into America has led to widespread changes in dishes. However, fast foods such as hamburgers and hotdogs have become common in America. The traditional African dishes have several basic ingredients such as tomatoes, Tamarind, coconut milk, pepper, tomatoes and corn. While there are similarities between the American and traditional African dishes, they are different in many ways. This paper will elaborate on the similarities and differences between the two dishes.
One of the major similarities between American dishes and African traditional dishes is the use of various animal meat products such as beef, poultry, goat meat, pork, mutton. American dishes commonly contain meat cooked using different modes and styles. For African traditional dishes, meat roasted directly on top of the fire or boiled in mixture with herbs is common. When Americans barbecue, Africans roast but there is similarity in that they use similar kind of meat from beef to mutton and pork. In an African celebration, a dish without roasted or boiled meat is considered incomplete.
Another similarity is the use of different animals’ products such as milk, eggs and cheese in the [cmppp_restricted] preparation of dishes. Traditionally, Africans used unprocessed cheese in the preparation of different dishes. This cheese was delivered from milk using conventional methods while Americans use processed cheese. The use of eggs is also common in both America and Africa and are used in the preparation of different types of dishes. From preparing drinks to preparing and flavoring of meat, milk is common in both Africa and America. While it was served as a drink in traditional Africa to accompany a dish, it is used in different ways in America.
Yet another similarity between American dishes and African traditional dishes is the use of herbs and spices. Some of the herbs commonly used in dishes include African Blue Basil, African Negro Pepper. In traditional Africa, herbs were included as part of the dishes for their culinary, medicinal value (Asowata-Ayodele, Afolayan & Otunola, 2016). Before colonization, the modern medicines were not available in Africa and herbs were thus used as medicine. In America however, the use of herbs for flavors is common as well as spices. While traditional Africans preferred unprocessed spices, Americans commonly use processed spices.
The use of Corn, lentils, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cassava, yams and arrowroot to complete dishes is yet another similarity. In traditional African dishes, most of these are used to make the main dish while other elements such as meat are used as supplements. In East Africa for example, stones were used to grind the corn to make flour which was then used to make ‘Ugali’ (Hector, 2014). In the modern world, posho mills are used to grind corn. The corn can also be boiled whole or roasted. In the U.S, corn is also commonly used included in different dishes and so is the other elements such as cassava, arrowroots, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkins.
Vegetable such as red onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves among others are used in the making of both American dishes and traditional African dishes. The use of red onions is common in Africa and America to fry different foods. Again, fruits such as bananas, avocados, pawpaw’s and mangoes are used in both regions to complete dishes. While in traditional African dishes, fruits are eaten before or after a meal; they are part of the dish in America. Avocados and ripe bananas are used to tenderize meat in making American dishes, but in traditional African dishes they are eaten whole.
A major difference between American dishes and African traditional dishes is the use of processes, spices and products. A variety of American dishes contain processed foods. Breakfast cereals, tinned vegetables, meat products, bread cakes, cheese and savory snacks are some of the processed products that appear in American dishes (Joseph, 2019). Furthermore, most of the spices such as pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon and Cumin among others are used in their processed form in American dishes. In a typical American kitchen, it is hard to lack a variety of processed spices. However, while traditional African dishes also contain different products and spices, they prefer using fresh products and species. Processed meat, for example, is not used with traditional African dishes. Again, herbs and other spices are used fresh such as the red pepper which is common with traditional African dishes.
Another difference is the use of sweeteners such as sugar, honey and processed flavors. In traditional African dishes, sweeteners are not used nor are flavors such as wine. Traditional African dishes contain fresh herbs not for flavor but for their medical value. In addition, sugar and honey do not appear in dishes. Flavors commonly used in traditional African dishes are fresh leaves or roots of different trees.
The appearance of all kinds of seafood in American dishes is common. In the United States, the common seafood includes salmon, crabs, popular fishes, tuna and shrimp among others. Partly due to the high migration of people into America, there are many kinds of seafood consumed in the region. However, in traditional African dishes, seafood is not common. While in some areas popular fishes such as tilapia appear in traditional dishes, other seafood such as shrimps only appear in modern imported dishes. Communities living near the seas in Africa are good fishermen but only consumed fish. Other seafood were considered unsafe until colonization and thereafter globalization. The form of meats commonly found in traditional African dishes includes beef, bacon, mutton and goat meat. Some communities also consumed other domesticated animals such as donkey and camel.
Both American dishes and African traditional dishes use similar cooking products. Products such as corn, varieties of meat, spices, herbs and vegetables are common with both dishes. However, the major difference lies in how they are used. American dishes contain commonly processed spices, products such as meat and herbs. Another major difference is the presentation and finishing of dishes. The use of sweeteners such as honey and flavors such as wine are uncommon in traditional African dishes. Furthermore, traditional African dishes commonly contain fresh vegetables, spices, herbs and products as opposed to American dishes with processed products. The only major foods that do not appear in both dishes are seafood. Traditional African dishes only contain fish as opposed to American dishes which contain all sort of seafood such as shrimps and crabs.
Asowata-Ayodele, A. M., Afolayan, A. J., &Otunola, G. A. (2016). Ethnobotanical survey of culinary herbs and spices used in the traditional medicinal system of Nkonkobe Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African journal of botany, 104, 69-75.
Hector, H. (2014). 10 popular dishes from across Africa – ONE. Retrieved 9 October 2019, from https://www.one.org/international/blog/10-popular-dishes-from-across-africa/
Joseph, D. (2019). American food: The 50 greatest dishes. Retrieved 9 October 2019, from https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/american-food-dishes/index.html [/cmppp_restricted]