Saturday, 14 November 2009

Burning Charcoal

In the Western world, people use electricity or gas for cooking but what do the Lugbara use for preparing their delicious delicacies? In the ancient times (and up to today in some traditional homes), firewood was a must. Three stones would serve as container holders and the burning wood would be placed inbetween. Creative constructors built clay stoves attached to their huts. So women and children had the task of searching far and wide for enough firewood in case there weren't enough trees in the neighbourhood. Some risked their lives to search in dangerous forests and areas. As time passed though, other sources of cooking fire were introduced including the durable charcoal. It is like preserved firewood and as black as coal though some break easily. The last time I had seen the method of charcoal burning was way back in the early 90s and it was on TV. Some South Americans were doing something I thought they do not do yet you might find this science probably originated from areas with lots of wood like the Amazon and thereabout. Anyway, the first time I saw it in the real world and even got involved happened in September 2009. Why did it take me so long? You have to make sure that you do not use fuel or oil because the wood may burn up completely. Teak is preferred by some Lugbara. A fire is lit on a metal board, base branches placed around it and wood meant for producing charcoal placed on it. The wood is then covered with soil to make it burn slowly and prevent it from burning up. When the soil creates a depression, more soil should be added to maintain the quality. Then after the soil is turned out after three days (Most recommended though Amayo says it depends on the type of wood burnt). Earth soil may be placed on top of the black blocks to cool them down. When lighting a stove, some Lugbara place groundnut pods below the charcoal to accelerate the firing up of the mass. This is very innovative because, instead of burning the pods as rubbish, they are utilised in the stove.