We had a houseful of people last night for our Evening with Woodsmoke. The title makes it sound more like a BBQ festival, but instead it was an event highlighting the work of Sean Coetzee, a young entrepreneur from South Africa, who is bringing the art and culture of African to an American audience.

About a month ago, when Sean proposed the idea of us hosting the gathering at bread&cup, I thought back to the memorable experience I had traveling in Africa years ago. Since I was familiar with some of the common foods in Eastern Africa, I decided to put a menu together based on my recollection. With a little help from the Internet, we had a set of five choices to create.

The idea behind the name of bread&cup is based on joining the simplest of food with the simplest of drink. Every culture has its bread in some shape or form, made from an available grain indigenous to its region, and is typically straightforward to create, enjoyable to eat, and easy to pass on the knowledge of its creation to the next generation.

The bread in this photo is chapatti, a homely flatbread made from corn and wheat flour, paired with a protein of seasoned slow cooked brown beans. This communal style of food is very savory and filling and intended to be eaten with the hands without utensils. Even though the flavors may be foreign to the Western palate, the concept of pairing starch and protein is not unlike our use of sourdough bread with our pesto, tapenade or hummus. The end result is pleasurable eating with fellow companions.

An Evening with Woodsmoke