After 2 months of choosing countries to cook from, I realized I haven't yet visited Africa. I searched for African cookbooks at the library, but there was not a great selection. I did, however, find one book that had a few interesting recipes, including some for Mali. I went ahead and did some research, because I know nothing about Mali. Here are a few of the more interesting facts I found. Enjoy!
Mali was one of the Empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade. When European sea trade began to peak, Mali fell under French rule, from 1800 until 1960. Mali gained independence in 1991, after an anti-goverment coup. Mali is currently one of the most stable countries in Africa politically and socially. Mali's main export is cotton, though it also exports rice and gold.
The capital city of Mali is Bamako, the fastest growing city in Africa. Mali's official language is French, though there are close to 50 African languages spoken. Around 90% of Mali is Islamic, however, there is no state religion.
Though Mali has one of the lowest HIV/AIDS rates in Africa at 1.9% of the adult population, many other illnesses exist, largely in part to the fact that around 70% of the population has access to safe drinking water and sanitation services.
About the cuisine, rice is a staple ingredient. Tomatoes, peanuts, and grilled meats are also very traditional ingredients.