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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

V.E - The History and Culture of Food and Drink in Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania

from Part V - Food and Drink around the World
This chapter begins with an overview of African 'agricultural origins and dispersals', to borrow a title from Carl Sauer, which were not all by-products of Egyptian influences. It discusses most significant imports, food preparations and eating habits, and most widespread diet-related disorders, excepting famine. Various African communities appear to have been experimenting with yam cultivation along a wide front following the savanna-rain forest ecotone in western Africa. Africa south from the Sahara has depended upon external sources for its most important livestock. The pace of agricultural development in the Sahelian and Sudanic zones of western Africa intensified under competition and population pressure from southward-drifting livestock herders seeking respite from the ever-worsening aridity. In general, the Ethiopian food crop domesticates remained rather narrowly confined to their original environments. The chapter also describes food preparations and eating habits of African food systems. Finally, it focuses on chronic diet-related disorders: protein-energy malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency, anemias, and goiter.
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The Cambridge World History of Food
  • Online ISBN: 9781139058643
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