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For a few years, some of us have been thinking of organizing a Ghanaian banquet, and this year, being the 50th Anniversary of Ghanaian independence, seems like an ideal time (although I wouldn't complain about a banquet for the 49th or 51st anniversary).

Erin Metz, a sociology graduate student at Northwestern, who has extensive connections in the local Ghanaian community, is helping me pull this event together. We are planning this LTH banquet with the staff of Palace Gate, one of the best Ghanaian restaurants in Chicago.

Given how difficult it is to select a date, we have tentatively chosen Thursday April 19th at 7:00 p.m. (weekends are difficult to arrange, because that is when Ghanaian families go out to dinner). Food will be served family style. The approximately number of guests possible is between 30-35. We are expecting the cost to be about $25/person (normally meals run about $8-$10, but I want to make sure that for all the effort that will go into this banquet, the restaurant will make some reasonable profit, and we are hoping to have Ghanaian musicians as well).

We are still working on the menu, but it will represent a range of Ghanaian food (perhaps half a dozen entrees, plus appetizers, drinks and desserts). More information later.

Respond on this thread if you are interested.

Palace Gate
4548 N. Magnolia (just south of Wilson)
773-769-1793
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HI,

If I were not so caught up in the IACP activities that week, then I would gladly be there. I look forward to the report.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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The IACP is from April 11-14. We didn't want to conflict with the IACP so we chose the following week.
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Hi,

Stupid me! Great! I plan to be there.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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The Wife and I are also interested. For others who might be, the address is 4548 N. Magnolia., Chicago.
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“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
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I would be very interested as well. Any sense of whether this will be a child friendly event?

Happy Taster Gal
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Count me in! How can I possibly miss this!? Especially since it is a block away from my place!
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Happy Taster Gal wrote:I would be very interested as well. Any sense of whether this will be a child friendly event?

Happy Taster Gal


I'm not sure that there is a general answer to this question. So much depends upon the child. The room is not very large, so it is an event at which the child would be sitting with us at the table for a few hours. The dishes are those that many American children might consider weird. However, this is certainly not true for all kids. Some are quite comfortable with adults and are as energetic foodies as any. You know your son or daughter (or brother or sister or whatever). We enforce no age limits. The key issue is whether s/he will be comfortable and whether s/he will add to the enjoyment of the group. Some young teens or even older tweens would do just fine (including the offspring of some moderators).

If your child has never had West African cuisine, you might take him/her to a meal before the dinner. But the answer to the question is that it is your decision to make.
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Sounds good to me...
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Joe G.

"Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
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Tentatively 2 ...
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I'd love to join, and will probably bring one or two guests.

-crrush
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I'm in. Sounds like an interesting event!
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T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
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I'll be there.

Sonja
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The menu will be approximately:

Ghanaian kebabs (meat coated in spices and ground peanut)

Three stews:
Nkrumahkwan (Okra) stew with fish and banku (soft soured corn dough)
Nkatsiekwan (Peanut) stew with goat and chicken and fufu (traditional
West African soft pounded starch)
Abenkwan (Palmnut) stew with omotuo (rice balls)

"Red-Red" beans kokoo with fried sweet plantain
Palavar (spicy spinach) sauce with boiled Ghanaian yam
Jollof Rice with Chicken

Pineapple for dessert

Assorted juices, soft drinks, and malta

BYOB for alcoholic items

Attendees (as of April 12):

GAF
Erin Metz (2)
Cathy2
David Hammond (2)
Germuska
crrush (2 or 3)
Josephine
SGFoxe
nr706 (2)
G Wiv (2)
glennpan (2)
happy stomach (2)
"The French Couple" (4)
Cynthia

We can get up to 32 guests without difficulty.
Last edited by GAF on April 18th 2007, 10:39am, edited 8 times in total.
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Gary,

Count me in for two please.

Enjoy,
Gary
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This sounds like a wonderful event, please put me down for 2.

Thanks,

Glenn
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Can you please put me down for 2, too?

Thanks,
Sharon
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Thanks for the response. You can count me in for two.
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Just found out I will be on a business trip on 4/19...sorry to miss the dinner. Hope you all have a WONDERFUL time!
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Turns out there is a reason for me to miss this. I completely forgot that I have class that night! Sorry!
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The Ghanaian banquet is approaching: next Thursday April 19th.

The address is:

Palace Gate
4548 N. Magnolia (just south of Wilson)

773-769-1793

There are still spaces available. Sign up if you are free.

Remember it is BYOB for alcohol. Does Fufu go with Merlot? Show up and find out.
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Last notice for Thursday April 19th: Palace Gate, 7:00. $25. Spaces are still available.
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Am I still in time to join you Thursday night? I attended a lecture on Ghanaian food at the IACP convention last week, and it was fascinating. I also managed to make it home with a large African yam, which I've been enjoying for a few days now. I'm very interested in sampling more, if there is still space available.
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I just want to confirm that it'll be me, +2 for tonight.

Also, in case anyone is wondering what pairs with Ghanaian food...I spoke to my cousin, who studied and wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on Ghanaian music, and he said "Beer, beer, beer". Heineken is apparently a favorite, as well as a Nigerian or Ghanaian beer called Star.
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crrush wrote:I just want to confirm that it'll be me, +2 for tonight.

Also, in case anyone is wondering what pairs with Ghanaian food...I spoke to my cousin, who studied and wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on Ghanaian music, and he said "Beer, beer, beer". Heineken is apparently a favorite, as well as a Nigerian or Ghanaian beer called Star.


Heinekin is my default beer, and if I bring beer, it will be that, but I wonder if its popularity is due to the fact that it actually works well with Ghanian food, or that it's popular given Ghana's history with the Dutch, and that residual Dutch folks who stayed on would have tended to favor this brew. Just throwing it out there...

David "No answers here; just questions" Hammond
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“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
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I don't know how I missed this post about this event, but I'm booked for tonight and I can't go. However, I am really, really looking forward to hearing about this event and any pics of the food. My brother will be going to Ghana this October for his honeymoon and I'd be happy to share your experiences with him.
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FYI - looks like I'll be one tonight, not two.
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Thank you all for a splendid evening at Palace Gate (several sets of photos to follow).

And thank you to Erin Metz, our intripid guide and organizer - oodles of LTH love and respect and honor.

And thank you to the staff of Palace Gate, the chef and owner, both gracious hosts (I foolishly forgot to write down their names and I don't wish to mangle their names). But a more gracious evening is difficult to imagine. These evenings and these restaurants and these wonderful chefs and cooks are what LTH is all about.
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Well, it's been a couple of hours now, and despite all the cameras in attendence, no one has posted photos yet, so I'll start. But not before congratulating Erin and GAF for putting together such a fascinating feast.

We started with a beef kebab which was chewy, spicy and delicious. As with many of the dishes, I couldn't identify the spicing - maybe others can help out here.
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It was followed by two soups, which looked similar and were both somewhat spicy, but had completely different flavor profiles. They were meant to be eaten with fingerfuls of the starches - rice balls (omotuo, the whiter ones in the background) and fufu. First was the Peanut Soup (Nkatsiekwan),
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followed by the Palm Nut Soup (Abenkwan) - note the Palm Oil floating on top.
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The fufu, made from a soft, pounded starchy vegetable (apparently in Ghana it can be made from a number of different vegetables; I missed what this was made from; it may have been yucca) had an interesting, soft, sticky consistency. Not only was this stick-to-the-ribs fare, it also stuck to the fingers (but only on the right hand, thank you very much).
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The spinach with ground pumpkin seeds (kontomire) got rave reviews from folks at our table; it was served with yucca. Some said it reminded them of Saag Panir.
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On to the tilapia! Reminded me of the famous song:
Barnes and Barnes wrote:Fish heads, Fish heads
Rolly polly Fish heads
Fish heads, Fish heads
Eat them up, Yummm

In the morning
Laughing, happy Fish Heads
In the evening
Floating in the soup

Ask a Fish head
Anything you want to
They won't answer
They can't talk

Rolly polly Fish heads are never seen drinking Cappucino in Italian restaurants with Oriental women...Yeah

Fish heads, Fish heads
Rolly polly Fish heads
Fish heads, Fish heads
Eat them up, Yummm

edit: just found the link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzpN9ce_qF0
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Apparently in Ghana, it's a great honor to be allowed to suck out the eyeballs from the fish head. LTH quiz, for those who weren't there: Who was this, who got the honor of sucking out the fish eyeball?
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More fish, plus chicken
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These were served with Jollof (Ghanian fried rice) and fried plantains
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Next was Kenkey, a well-fermented cake of corn flour - think of a cross between polenta and injera, but stronger than either. Unusual, maybe an acquired taste, but I'm glad I had a chance to try it.
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Finally, the okra stew, with beef and shrimp
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Okra stew had quite a texture to it:
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Dessert was simple cut up pineapple. No pictures - you know what a cut up pineapple looks like, right?
Last edited by nr706 on April 20th 2007, 12:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Thanks to Gary and Erin for arranging this wonderful meal. I did not write down the names of our hosts, but they were most gracious and efficient in the kitchen and with table service. Erin was a most informative guide to dining in the style of Ghana. My favorites were the fried snapper, the spinach, the bean stew and the peanut soup. I intend to eat the leftover plantains for breakfast and to return soon to Palace Gate.
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Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
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