Foods in America that are from Africa

Author: Kristi Billings

Grade Level: Early Elementary

1. Students will make a stew common to Africa
2. Students will be able to discuss how foods may be similar across cultures but prepared differently.

Materials Needed:
Burckhardt, Ann L. The People of Africa and Their Food. Capstone Press, 1996.
Foods needed for recipe
Parent Volunteers

cocoa beans

sugar beats


oats, barley






sweet potatoes

large frying pan, pot, and hot plate
paper bowls and spoons

1. Ask students if they have ever eaten foods from other countries. Have a discussion.

2. Ask students what foods might come from Africa.

3. Discuss foods that have been borrowed and/or imported from Africa.

The basic food crops of Africa are: cassava, peanuts, sweet potatoes, and corn. The most important cache crop is coffee and two large exports are coffee and tobacco.

There are certain foods which have their origin in North Africa. These foods include wheat, barley, oats, millet, and sugar beets. Even though these foods can be found all over the world, they have their "roots" in North Africa.

During the time of Colonial America there were specific items which came from Africa. Peanuts, rice, okra, yams, sesame, and cumin are some of these foods.

Today, Africa produces most of the world's supply of cocoa beans, yams, and cassava (starchy root). The African countries harvest 2/3 of the world output of cocoa beans.

4. While discussing foods, show the foods that are mentioned so the students can make visual connections.

5. Tell students that they are going to make an African recipe using foods that are also found in the U.S. This Peanut Butter Stew is eaten frequently in various parts of Africa. The ingredients aren't new to the U.S., but the combination of the ingredients might be.

6. Make recipe: Peanut Butter Stew - Burckhardt book (page 23)
*This recipe makes enough for six servings so the students will have to figure out amounts of food needed to make it for the whole class. Measure and reinforce math skills as appropriate.
*Have students assist with all parts of the recipe. Use parent volunteers to help keep everything under control. Volunteers will also be useful in asking the students questions to determine what they know.

7. While the food is cooking, the teacher will ask the students questions about what they have learned concerning foods from Africa that are found in the U.S.

8. Eat and discuss: What did you like? What was the same? Different? What are some foods that you eat that are unique combinations (e.g., peanut butter and bananas)?

1. Observe students participation in making the stew
2. Evaluate comments in discussion.

MICROSOFT ENCARTA (encyclopedia)
Book: Burckhardt, Ann L. The People of Africa and Their Food. Capstone Press, 1996.


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