PHOTO SOURCE: SOPHIA MUSOKI
You’ve probably seen her blog A Kitchen in Uganda and wondered how someone had the foresight to come up with pink on the inside mandazi using hibiscus and beets for a breast cancer awareness post. That is not all that she has done when it comes to new recipes. She shared her inspirations and more with us.
I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember. I remember by the age of 7 I already knew how to cook rice and our traditional food Obundu (kalo). I am mostly introverted and the kitchen has always provided an escape for me.
Solo cooking VS in a team
I am more productive when I am alone because I can then focus and concentrate on what needs to be done. But there are things that definitely need more than a pair of hands. For example whenever I am shooting and creating videos, I rely on my family and friends to be the hands in the pictures.
A recipe is a guide/rule. You create a lot of new stuff. How do you navigate breaking these age old rules?
I develop my recipes with the utmost respect for the original ones. But like you said, a recipe is a guide. I use these recipes as guides for my creations so that I can develop something that will heighten the glory of the original recipe.
Ever made a dish/created a recipe that didn’t go according to plan?
Oh man! So many times! For each dish that makes it to the blog around 3 or 4 have failed. The great thing about it is that I approach this as an unending experiment. If something doesn’t work the way I have envisioned it, I pick it apart and see what went wrong, what needs to be removed and what needs to be added until I achieve the desired result.
(PS. Sophie has since published a post on exactly this, check it out) https://akitcheninuganda.com/2018/09/28/failed-kitchen-experiments-a-photo-essay/ )
Your pictures are great! Have you had any intellectual property challenges with people using your work without permission?
Thank you. Unfortunately, I have. The thing people need to realize is that it takes a lot of effort to create a photo. Once you realize the amount of energy that goes into this type of work, you will grow to respect the craft and ask for permission before using the pictures.
Go to comfort food
I eat a lot of carbs so Katogo is high on the list, then chapati and beans.
That dish that you can prepare in your sleep.
Steamed bread. In the past few years, I have been obsessed with steamed bread because it is delicious, convenient and does not need an oven to be made especially since ovens are still quite hard to get in Uganda. I have reached a point where I can use my instincts to measure the ingredients and it always comes out moist, fluffy and soft.
Aside from reading a lot of blogs, books and watching YouTube, I do not have any professional training. I wanted to work in the food and hospitality industry from a young age. After high school I enrolled in university with a bachelor of science in hospitality management. Due to unavoidable circumstances, I had to change the course to Business management. I still had the passion for food so I consumed a lot of online content to educate myself.
When away from Uganda, what food do you miss the most?
Ah man where do I start! My grandmother’s cassava katogo, obuwowoolo, ebyenda with Obundu, roasted maize. I could go on and on!
What do you love most about cooking?
I am fascinated by how a set of totally different ingredients when put together produce delicious bursts of flavors and textures. It is this experimentation that excites me. I am always curious how mixing one thing with another will look and taste like.
The most versatile ingredient according to you
That will have to be ginger. Ginger pairs well with both savoury and sweet foods. I always make sure I have some ginger with me when I am cooking.