This book is the result of a year-long cooking, eating and talking about food in Zambia. Living and cooking through the seasons, seeing new varieties of fruits and vegetables appear on the local market, and others disappear, enriched this book month by month.
The recipes are the outcome of my personal exploration of trying to eat a healthy and diverse diet with as many local and seasonal products as possible. There is an immense variety of fruits, vegetables, pulses, grains and other food products that are produced in Zambia. Eating seasonal and locally produced food is an easy and tasty manner to support local farmers and entrepreneurs, reduce your carbon footprint and save money.
All recipes in this book are completely vegetarian. Our planet earth has simply not enough resources to feed all its inhabitants with a daily portion of meat. You may think that vegetarian cooking is complicated, or that you cannot live without meat. I hope that the recipes in this book will show you that vegetarian cooking is not complicated, and that meat is not a necessity for a tasty and satisfying meal.
I decided to include recipes which use dairy products and eggs although I realize that a completely vegan (plant-based) diet would even be more sustainable. If you prefer to eat vegan, I trust that you will still be able to find some interesting recipes in this book. Or be creative and tweak some recipes to suit your demands.
When you find yourself thinking about what you will eat today, rather than whether you will eat today, you know that you are privileged. The malnutrition figures in Zambia are saddening, despite agriculture being the main sector of employment in the country. About 40% of the children under the age of 5 have a low weight for their age whilst at the same time overweight and obesity prevalence rates are rising. Eating locally produced and healthy food is therefore more important than ever.
I hope that the recipes in this book will inspire you, expats and Zambian nationals alike. The recipes may inspire you to look for unfamiliar ingredients on the local market or in the supermarket and try them out. Or to try out different ways of using the ingredients that you have known for ages.
Be inspired and enjoy!