Zambia and Zimbabwe are two African countries that rarely make their way into the minds of American students.
With this week's cooking demonstration at the International House, the African Student Association aimed to change that.
The I-House offers programs throughout the school year that emphasize various countries that have representatives present on UT's campus. Zambia and Zimbabwe had yet to be highlighted, so the third week of November was their time to shine.
The ASA presented a cooking demonstration to share some traditional African cuisine with curious students and community members Wednesday.
Cecilia Dzingira, a native of Zimbabwe, called upon two volunteers to assist in the preparation of a curry chicken stew. They added diced onions and peppers to a hot electronic skillet, and while the ingredients simmered, Dzingira described the dish.
"Some people eat chicken stew and rice for lunch," Dzingira said. "Sometimes it's reserved for special occasions like weddings or funerals. One of the most important dishes is sadza, and we eat it with different things like greens or fish."
Sadza, a porridge-like food made from cornmeal, is the national dish of Zimbabwe.
After the peppers and onions were "mild brown," Dzingira added shredded chicken and a can of tomatoes.
"In Zimbabwe, we use the freshest tomatoes, but canned works for right now," Dizingira said before seasoning the dish with curry powder and salt.
While the chicken stew simmered away, the cooking demonstration continued with cabbage fritters.
Mwamba Bowa, who was born and raised in Zambia and then traveled to Knoxville for college, walked the audience through the process of making cabbage fritters.
"First, shred all of this cabbage," Bowa said to Michael Grigsby, one of the new volunteers.
Grigsby looked slightly perplexed, but proceeded to shred the half head of cabbage while Bowa helped Raina Altawil combine the remaining ingredients. Grigsby offered to form the fritters and help fry them, so he accompanied Altawil to the kitchen.
As the cabbage "blobs" cooked, Grigsby explained his interest in the culture. While in high school, he was one of eight American students invited to travel to Zambia for a research project about famine and fund allocation.
"My favorite food thing from Zambia was definitely the peppered steak," Grigsby said. "I'm pretty sure it was antelope, actually."
The fritters were fried while pre-prepared food was served to attendees. The audience dined on samples of the two dishes that had been prepared during the presentation.
"I've never had Zambian food," Shannon Mullane said. "I love to explore new cultures and cuisines, and the food was delicious."