CHRISTMAS is around the corner and author and chef, Phiona Ninsiima has launched ‘Memories at The Table’, a Rwandan story cook book that contains several balanced nutritious and delicious meals whose ingredients can be found at the local market. The book also contains different people’s memories with food. The book was launched on the evening of December 12 in Kigali. Ninsiima shared that some of the foods that the meals in the book contain, such as potatoes, rice, beans, groundnuts can be found at the local market whether in urban or rural areas. She declared that one of the things that is very key in Rwandan culture is storytelling which compelled her to include her stories in the book. Participants during book the launch. “I made sure to share stories in this cook book. It is a story cook book and those stories are not only my stories but also stories from different people. Although they are masked, they were kind enough to share their memories with food,” she said. The mother of one holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Art and currently provides cooking lessons at her restaurant. She said that when she returned to Rwanda after completing professional training in Dubai, she committed to documenting her skills in a way that today’s generation and the generation to come can access different meal recipes to help them enjoy cooking henceforth creating ‘Memories at The Table.’ “I made sure that it was a pictorial book and straight to the point. It has pictures of meals and how someone prepares them,” she said. Ninsiima revealed that it took her around a year to finish the book – from developing the idea, finding local ingredients to make the meals, writing the recipes, editing the book as well as cooking the meals and photographing them. Magnus Mazimpaka who has read and has already started using the book, said that some of the recipes in the book are already known by people although they cook them in a different way, adding that Ninsiima has come up with a new way that establishes a balance between delicious and nutritious food and also by presenting a simpler way of cooking that can be helpful even for a beginner. “This book can change one’s life in two ways; one being the relation with people you live with at home where a family can do cooking activities together and have fun which strengthens their bond,” he said. “It can also change one’s life, especially for those who have health problems and need to eat healthy but find it costly to go to restaurants. They can get food cheaply at the local market, cook for themselves and eat healthy meals with the help of this book,” he said. Ramadhan Sindayigaya, a chef who has also read the book, said that it also contains international meals that are localized in a way that makes it easier for the reader to do the cooking. He added, “The book can be used in cooking schools in Rwanda. We usually use international books but we also need to use local ones. It can help the next generation and youth at large to realise that there is something they can do to help people.” He noted that he was touched by a story of a man who cooks for his children, which indicates that women shouldn’t be the only ones cooking at home, adding that the book is a good tool to help men change their mindsets regarding cooking. Ninsiima stressed that the book is a great Christmas gift for a family to share memories at the table. She is currently selling it directly to the audience for her to have conversations with them, and can be contacted via 0789904109 or email: email@example.com. According to her, in the coming days, the book will be translated into Kinyarwanda and will also be distributed to different bookshops across the country.