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Try your hand at some mouthwatering recipes served from Kenyan kitchens as we take you through cooking lessons presented during the Folklife Festival. To supplement the written instructions, each recipe comes with an audio recording filled with additional information on Kenyan culinary culture as well as verbal directions from expert Kenyan chefs as they cook with you. So get out your pots, pans, and fryers, and put your forks back in the drawer, because you are about to enter the world of Kenyan cuisine!

Flavors of kenya

Kenyan foodways cooks

Alice Awuir Oduor
Alice is co-founder of the health-wise catering company Lisa & Kaylie. She is from western Kenya and currently resides in Embakasi, a division of Nairobi. A story that she frequently shared throughout her cooking sessions was the origin of her and Emily's last names, because, no, they are not related. Last names in Kenya often indicate what time of day you were born, and Oduor means they were born at midnight.

Emily Oduor
Emily is co-founder of the Lisa & Kaylie catering company which promotes health-conscious, organic, traditional Kenyan cooking. The company's goal is to help regain interest in traditional Kenyan cooking since much of the local foodways are being forgotten due to outside influences. Emily is from western Kenya and lives in Kajiado County. She is proud that her daughter is learning to cook from her, as she sees this as an important legacy to pass on.

Amina Harith Swaleh
Amina lives on the island of Lamu and works at the National Museums of Kenya. Throughout the two weeks of the Folklife Festival, she and Fatma spoke of life on the island and its main economy coming from fishing and farming, making seafood, coconut, and rice local staples. Amina was born in Mombasa, along the eastern coast of Kenya. She identifies as a Swahili Arab; along with the other Muslim participants in the program, she observed the month-long fast period of Ramadan during the Folklife Festival.

Fatma Ali Busaidy
Fatma lives in Lamu and works at the National Museums of Kenya. She and Amina were frequently asked about gender roles in the kitchen; she replied that it is the woman's duty to cook for her family and guests. Fatma began cooking at the age of eight and mastered cooking on her own by the time she was fifteen. As a Swahili Arab who observed Ramadan during the Festival, Fatma maintained that the fast was not difficult for her and was strengthened by the three meanings of Ramadan. For more information on observing Ramadan while demonstrating Kenyan recipes, see our blog.

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