[Interview] Barbara Magara-Nkosana

Barbara Magara-Nkosana lives in Leeds in the United Kingdom.

She is the author of the Traditional Zimbabwean Cookbook (Lion Press, 2011).

In this interview, Barbara Magara-Nkosana talks about why she wrote the cookbook:

How would you describe the Traditional Zimbabwean Cookbook?

It is all about Zimbabwean cooking.

The book comprises of over 100 recipes of dishes that make Zimbabwe’s fascinating and diverse cuisine. The cookbook invites food lovers to taste the delicacies and flavours of Zimbabwean food.

How many books have you written so far?

This is the first cookbook that I have written, published by Lion Press.

My next book will talk all about contemporary Zimbabwean cooking, fusing the classic favourite Zimbabwean dishes with world cuisines.

I am hoping to invite food lovers to experiment with the fused tastes, hopefully bring Zimbabwean cuisine to the level that it deserves.

Why did you decide to write the Traditional Zimbabwean Cookbook?

I believe that knowledge is for sharing and that we cannot rely on oral tradition alone to preserve and maintain our culinary tradition.

I frequently got requests to share recipes for various dishes. In response to these requests, I made notes, e- mailed or gave cooking instructions over the telephone. With the advice of a friend, I started to compile recipes for the cookbook.

Was it difficult to write up the recipes?

Yes, definitely.

Generally, when cooking, I tend not to measure quantities of ingredients because I have cooked the dishes for so long, and know what quantities to use from the top of my head. However, to test and write up the recipes for this book, I had to measure and time everything. This process was very time-consuming and challenging.

What did you enjoy about the process?

I enjoyed every step of creating the Traditional Zimbabwean Cookbook. I met wonderful people who welcomed me into their kitchens and shared their culinary skills.

Lasting friendships and a lot of lessons have been learnt in the process.

Cooking has been part of my life and my passion since childhood. A lot of my culinary skills were passed to me by my parents and extended family. I am very proud of the many fabulous cooks in my family. They have encouraged me to bring pleasure and enjoyment into my cooking.

Why is home cooking so important?

It is a way of bringing families and communities together. Sharing food is at the heart of Zimbabwean social life, be it in festive celebrations or commemorations.

What are your favourite foods?

Freshly picked wholesome horticultural produce which, in Zimbabwe, is seasonal. I also enjoy cooking dishes with sun-dried preserved foods, they add a distinctive flavour to the dish.

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zimgirl said…
What an excellent idea.No more reaching for the phone and calling mai or mbuya to ask how to cook certain food stuff .Well done Barbara !!!
Anonymous said…
Its high time we had our own recipe book ,having pictures of completed dishes is a great idea.
Anonymous said…
Well done girl,high time , where can i purchase this book?
Anonymous said…
Is there any launch events lined up? I would love to attend for food tastings!!!!!! yummy yummy.
Anonymous said…
yes you did respond to the questions were, but the interviewer should have asked on who influenced you, besides cooking being your hobby what you do in your spare time, your advice to other budding writers or women like you, just to mention a few. Remember you have set a trend, good luck
Chengaose said…
I am very impressed with the idea. Definately agree that there is so much to share from our culture. Food being such important part of all our family gatherings and memories of growing up. It is time we learnt the recipes and passed them onto our children. I need my signed copy now :)
Anonymous said…
I just bumped into this blog, wow, A Zimbabwean has done this! I am really impressed, well done my sister, I am a caterer for african cuisine and would love to have a copy of your book to use for planning my meals.Wher do i buy this book?
Unknown said…
Well done Barbara, this is very special of you, I always new something big will come out of you. I am proud of you young sister. God Bless You each and every day. Rennie
Unknown said…
Good stuff Barbara!!!!

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