Fran Osseo-Asare got her first taste of African cooking in the late 1960s when she was a student at the University of California in Berkeley. There she met a student from Ghana who introduced her to many of his country's customs and dishes. Coming from a family descending from Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian immigrants, the culture of The Dark Continent was completely foreign to her. However, the two grew close and eventually were married, but not until she went to live and teach in Ghana in 1971.
This experience led her to develop a full understanding of the culture of this African nation. She became familiar with their social system and homelife, including how they prepare foods and eat them. This interaction was the key to learning the difference between the culture she was living in and the one she grew up in. When returning to the U.S., Osseo-Asare and her husband maintained Ghanaian practices in their home. As their children grew up they were also exposed to the cultures of both their American family and their Ghanaian family. Preparing the meals, like in Ghana, was always a family time for them and the children soon became involved in African cooking as well.
The family travels frequently and stays in many parts of the world where the Osseo-Asare children learn the vast cultures of many other countries. In fact, the idea for A Good Soup Attracts Chairs came from an experience of one of their children.
â€œIn 1985, after watching a television news story about the suffering children in Ethiopia, my four-year-old son prayed that God would help hurting children in Africa. After he prayed, I told him that God asks us to bring our few fish to Him, and He blesses them and multiplies them to feed others. I then promised to write this book. We agreed as a family that any profits coming from it would be used to help hungry children in Africa.â€
Fran Osseo-Asare is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her master's degree in social welfare in community organization and social planning. She has also completed a doctoral thesis at Pennsylvania State University on food provisioning in West African countries. A Good Soup Attracts Chairs is her second book, the first being a nonfiction work on family relations in Ghana. She and her husband live in State College, PA, with their three children.
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