Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Food Markets, Women

West African women going to market
The Dutch explorer Pieter de Marees provides interesting insights into women's roles in West African food markets in the 1600s.  He writes, “at day-break," the peasant women come to the market in the Gold Kingdom of Guinea "carrying on their heads two or three bundles of Sugar-cane” which they unite the bundles of Sugar-cane and spread them out” on a designated place in the market.”  He goes on to say,  they sell their sugar-cane quickly “for people are accustomed to eat a great deal of it.” Next came other merchant women selling “Oranges or Limes, another Bananas and [sweet] Potatoes and Yams, a third Millie, Maize, Rice, …a fourth Chickens, Eggs, bread and such necessaries as people in the Coastal towns need to buy.” There are fixed Market-days “on which one finds more for sale there than on other days.  If one Town has its great Market-day on one day, another Town has its Market on another day: thus they keep their Market-days on separate days” and all food markets remained closed on Sunday. 

West African Foodways and Recipes:

Sugar Cane Related Stories and Recipes:

Market Series with Recipes:

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