She begins with a guide to staple produce and pantry favorites, with sourcing information for less familiar items (argan oil, grains of paradise), then proceeds to recipe chapters organized by method and occasion (Drinks, Dips and Sharing Plates; Roasts, Grills, and Cooking with Fire). Recipes reflect her upbringing and travels through various regions: Juicy Berbere Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Ethiopia); Spice Island Coconut Fish Curry (Zanzibar); Honeycomb Pancakes with Orange Blossom and Honey Syrup (Morocco).
Mango and Lime Piri Piri Chicken, a weeknight-friendly sheet pan entree based on the Mozambican tangy chile marinade, lived up to its enticing description when I made it, and has me motivated to try the many other recipes I’ve bookmarked.
Through her joyful and tantalizing prose, Umah-Shaylor conveys what she means when she describes Africa as not just a physical place, but “a feeling, a belonging to something otherworldly and yet worldly.”
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.