What is Eto made of?
Eto is a kind of food that people ate in West Africa. You cooked yams until they were soft, and then mashed them. Then you added eggs and palm oil. This made a rich, satisfying food that people loved to eat.
What is palm oil?
African food history
West African history
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People ate it when they were sick, or if they had no teeth left to chew food. People gave gifts of these mashed yams to the gods, because the gods really liked to eat eto.
African medicine and science
Religion in early Africa
Offering eto to the gods
When farmers picked the first ripe yams every year, the priestesses would use those yams to make some eto. Nobody was supposed to eat the new yams until the eto was done and the yams were blessed. Does this remind you of the Jewish holiday of Passover?
Eto and American slavery
People kept on eating eto in West Africa into the Middle Ages and after European traders started to come to West Africa. When these traders forced many West African people to go to America as slaves, they took their recipes with them.
Medieval African food
Where do sweet potatoes come from?
Making sweet potato pie
American sweet potato pie
In America, they cooked sweet potatoes in the same way that they had cooked yams at home. American sweet potato pie, for example, is made with mashed sweet potatoes mixed with eggs and butter or oil.
Here’s a West African story about Anansi that has eto in it.
Learn by doing: a day in ancient Africa
More about African food
Bibliography and further reading about African food:
Food and Recipes of Africa (Kids in the Kitchen.) by Theresa M. Beatty
The People of Africa and Their Food (Multicultural Cookbooks)
by Ann Burckhardt
A Taste of West Africa (Food Around the World) by Colin Harris
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