2002, Rome -- Have you ever brought home a new product
from the "international foods" section of your
grocery store -- and then watched it spoil in your refrigerator
because you couldn't figure out how to prepare it?
We have help for you -- an international
cuisine cookbook available on Web and CD-Rom.
In recent years, many exotic products have been
introduced on the shelves of supermarkets in the industrialized
world. As a result, people have found out about food items like
quinoa, taro, agar-agar and cocoyam and many are curious to try
Now you can find recipes to cook
these products in the international cuisine cookbook prepared by
FAO's Information Network on Post-harvest
Operations (INPhO), available both on the Web and on
Traditional recipes from
every corner of the globe
cookbook [http://www.inpho.org/] contains over 850 recipes from
54 countries. Contributions come both from national nutrition
institutes and users, who are encouraged to submit their recipes
on the website.
us because they are looking for a lost recipe," says
François Mazaud, the creator of INPhO , "or because
they forget proportions of recipes they used to make. A woman
called me from New York to find out how to make a dish her
mother used to cook in Mali. The cookbook helps to keep
Recipes can benefit everyone,
A virus destroyed
much of Uganda's cassava , the country's staple food,
in the mid-1990s. Sweet potatoes were introduced as a
replacement, but many people didn't know how to use them.
An FAO post-harvest project was set up to train people to
incorporate the new product in their diets.
Many foods are unknown outside places of origin -- and
there are many reasons why this should change. Introducing
exotic foods helps open up markets, diversify diets, cope with
catastrophes that interrupt food supplies and protect the
environment when the main food is a rare one.
"For example," explains Mr Mazaud,
"in Mali, baobab leaves are used for Orodjó a popular
sauce in the Dogon region, on the border with Niger. But
baobabs don't have many leaves, and after five years of
continuous defoliation, the tree dies. We hope to show people
how to cook the same dishes with different products, thereby
protecting their environment."
Isn't post-harvest about
Post-harvest is usually
defined as covering harvesting, handling, storage, processing,
equipment manufacture and food marketing.
But that definition lacks the last link in the chain
-- making sure the product arrives on the consumer's
plate... and that it provides a tasty meal.
The cookbook receives the majority
of INPhO's 84 000 visits a month, but it's only a
small part of the site's content. It also includes a
database of experts, a photo database, a virtual library and
links to other relevant institutions.
Post-Harvest Management, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53606
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570