Ednah Rosen is Shifting the African Narrative Through Cuisine

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The award-winning cookbook author and culinary enthusiast has embarked on a gastronomy tourism safari with local hospitality establishments. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI gives a hint of the flavours


In the vibrant tapestry of gastronomy, award-winning cookbook author and culinary enthusiast Ednah Rosen emerges as a trailblazer, reshaping the narrative of local cuisine with each dish she creates and each word she writes.


With a passion for culinary art deeply rooted in her heritage, Rosen is on a mission to showcase the richness and diversity of Botswana flavours while shifting the African narrative through cuisine.


“It is crucial to document our heritage in all forms for future generations,” she said in an interview. “I hope this will also encourage the youth to embrace their roots, express their creativity with cultural heritage in mind.


Authentic experience


“The point is that by preserving and celebrating our cultural identity, we create unique opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.”


For the past 10 years, Rosen’s mission has been to shift the Botswana narrative through its cuisine and promote gastronomy tourism in her country. She draws upon her Setswana culture to bring people closer together through food and offers an authentic experience.


Weaved into her heart is the desire to innovate and bring Setswana cuisine to the global dining table, hence she has embarked on a gastronomy tourism journey with local hospitality establishments.


Culinary destination


“Gastronomy tourism in Africa is a treasure trove of untapped potential,” she asserted. “In recent years, the trend is that travellers are interested in eating local cuisine when they visit a country.


“I am sharing my craft to assist the hospitality establishments to meet the demands and promote our country as a safari and culinary destination. The interest of implementing our traditional cuisine in the hospitality industry is growing.


“The guests are blown away by our unique, healthy and delicious food with natural flavours. The reviews have been very positive.


Eating less meat


“The fact that traditional Setswana cuisine offers a wide range of vegan and vegetarian dishes makes our food even more interesting due to the growing lifestyle changes of more people choosing to eat less meat.”


Rosen’s influence extends far beyond the kitchen. Through her cookbook titled “Taste of Botswana,” she invites readers to explore the depth and complexity of local flavours, highlighting the variations and cultural nuances that make each dish unique.


The book is the result of many years of research, interviews and documentation of the unique techniques and methods of the Setswana kitchen that would otherwise risk being un-documented and forgotten.


Beyond preservation


But the content, design and layout go beyond the purpose of preservation and offer a visually-engaging and culturally-orienting showcase of typical aspects of the traditional lifestyle practices found and experienced in Botswana.


“Food is a cultural storyteller,” she said matter-of-factly “The taste of Botswana unlocks the secret of Setswana recipes handed down from ancestral generations. We have probably some of the rare cuisines in world that don’t use spices and yet offer delicious natural flavours.


“Our landscape and climate explain the produce and ingredients that determine our cuisine. Sharing our food story with the tourists is amazing because they really want to hear all about what shapes our culinary profile.”


The book is available at Exclusive Books, Botswana Craft, Botswana Book Centre, Sanitas, Maun: Mophane Trading, Kasane: Buzzadi.