Saka Saka: South of the Sahara – Adventures in African Cooking (Hardcover)
Chef Anto Cocagne and Photographer Aline Princet take us on a unique food journey and introduce us to the best recipes from Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and Ethiopia.
Chef Anto Cocagne and Photographer Aline Princet take us on a unique food journey and introduce us to the best recipes from Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and Ethiopia. We will discover the main characteristics of these cuisines, the specialties of each region, the produce, the ideal pantry, the basics, as well as mouthwatering recipes for appetizers, main courses, side dishes, street food, desserts, and drinks.
And since no one evokes a cuisine better than its daughters and sons, we meet African musicians, writers, artists, and creatives who tell stories about their favorite dishes, their family cooking memories, and what these recipes represent for them today.
With stunning food and landscape photography, complemented by beautiful and colorful design, this book is an ode to conviviality, generosity, and positivity. It is a love letter to Africa.
About the Author
Anto Cocagne, known as Chef Anto, is a Gabonese woman chef who studied culinary arts in France and the US before starting her career as a chef and consultant on African cuisines in Paris. She is the artistic director of Afro Cooking magazine, president of the “We Eat Africa” food festival, and star of the African TV series Rendez-vous avec Le Chef Anto. Her ambition is to popularize African cooking throughout the world.
“Chef Cocagne celebrates ‘the tastes of Sub-Saharan Africa’ in this vibrant [debut] ... In an appealing introduction, she focuses on the region’s history … the information is fascinating. Cocagne covers everything from eating with one’s hands to the absence of frozen food in Africa. Most recipes offer helpful substitutions … The range of cuisines is vast: Ravioli are filled with smoked mackerel and amaranth leaves; a chapter on street food includes fried dumplings and grilled sea bream; and desserts encompass crème brûlée with baobab powder, and mbouraké made by pounding stale bread, sugar, and evaporated milk. Meanwhile, interviews with Sub-Saharan African personalities—such as radio host Soro Solo and designer Aïssé N’Diaye—fold in enlivening cultural tidbits … making it an important entry in the growing number of books about African cuisines.”
— Publishers Weekly
“In Saka Saka, Gabonese and French chef Anto Cocagne celebrates sub-Saharan African cuisine. The invigorating recipes [...] spotlight fresh, nourishing staples with creative flourishes [...] It details foods that are pertinent to both, with a helpful pantry list, and dispels misconceptions about African food being too oily or spicy, encouraging everyone to explore its bold tastes [...] Saka Saka is a congenial, welcoming cookbook that celebrates Africa’s culinary profile with tantalizing dishes and eye-catching photographs.”
— Foreword Reviews, Starred Review
“[A]n adventure through sub-Saharan Africa. Named after a cassava leaf dish, this book combines recipes, portraits, and interviews that introduce African cuisine to the global consumer. Appealing dishes include everything from sides and appetizers to street food and desserts, all showcasing the beauty and art of food from Africa and the connection people have to it. Cocagne encourages readers to revise the misconceptions that food from Africa is too oily, too spicy, or too rich: in reality it is healthy and diverse … With all the love that the continent has to offer this book is a must for cooking collections.”
— Booklist, Starred Review
“[A] cookbook that educates, dazzles, and—most importantly—is delectable … Cocagne’s informative text goes beyond flavors to discuss sub-Saharan cultures … Princet’s vibrant photography delivers energy … This cookbook will delight readers and home cooks alike as an introduction to sub-Saharan cuisine, and its recipes will quickly become go-tos.”
— Library Journal
“[A] snappy book … if you’re looking for dishes that push the boundaries of your palate, Saka Saka has you covered … For the curious American cook who wants more than weeknight dinner hacks, this engrossing book will point in a new direction, whether you head for the thiep bou dien (grouper, cassava, pumpkin and ‘dried fish and shell’) or a slightly more familiar black-eyed-pea and beet hummus.”
— The New York Times, "Eight Dazzling Cookbooks"
“Saka Saka contains conversations with artists and cultural icons from across the African continent alongside recipes inspired by those conversations. The collection is an ambitious survey of familiar dishes that strives to take readers on a journey through East, West and Central Africa. Anto Cocagne’s solution to connecting the cuisines south of the Sahara is clever: Many of the base sauces introduced in the beginning of the book accent or anchor the recipes throughout … By revisiting these foundational components, the recipes highlight the versatility of the regions’ ingredients. Experienced cooks and those with some familiarity of African cuisines will feel challenged, inspired, and right at home."
— Yewande Komolafe, New York Times Best Cookbook of 2022
“[A]n important and enchanting cookbook by Anto Cocagne … Saka Saka extends the young chef’s reach to a global audience with stories and recipes that make you want to get cooking … Adding to the delight of this beautifully designed cookbook are Princet’s photos, not only of the recipes but of African musicians, actors, writers and other personalities posing with foods from the African pantry … and sharing their favorite African dishes, taste memories, and bits of cooking advice.”
— Los Angeles Times Best Cookbook of 2022