God I hated those unending questions during my childhood whenever I visited my home town from abroad. It was a test of how much of your Sudan-ism you have retained or whether you have been corrupted by the foreigners’ way of
life. But of course I knew what a Kunush was, a long metal spoon with a hooked end that looked like a letter T, used for stirring thick Asidas. As a child in my hometown your job was either to borrow some cooking utensils or fetch them for another child also sent from their home.
As time passes you see less of these cooking utensils in modern Sudanese Kitchens, Yet some are still indispensable, these are some cooking utensils I remember from my child hood
Mufraka: the wooden version of the Kunush, used to blend mulah/porridge (minced meat, or okra, or spinach), an expert connoisseur would taste your mulah and say with distaste: you’ve been using the electric blender, you’ve totally taken away the taste!
Magsoosa: a large long metal spoon with holes, used when frying large amounts of food such as ligemat (puff puff) ,taamia (falafel)
Bistilla: a cylinder metal container to fetch liquid goods, mostly ghee or milk
Tombalbaye Pot: Named after the late Chadian President and African leader Francois Tombalbaye (probably during the sway of patriotic pan Africanism), is an extremely heavy pot (serves as a steam pressing pot) for cooking items that require heat , cooking fava beans (fool) for example, making ghee from cream, or thick asidas.
Masha: metal thongs used for picking burning coal from the Kanoon
Kanoon: the traditional cooking stove, a metal box with openings at the sides where you stack old newspapers or carton paper to feed the fire, at the top is the grill plate on which you place the burning coals and the cooking pot.
Mushla’eeb: this was my favourite, a straw braided bag that hanged from the kitchen ceiling , usually you placed goods that you fear may be eaten by cats, such as milk, marinated meat or fish. Even with the introduction of fridges the mushla’eeb was indispensable. You see, town cats have acquired a dexterity and skill unforeseen in city cats, they can open fridges, freezers, pot lids and so on, but the mushla’eeb is confident that they haven’t learned to fly..yet.
Guffa: a straw braided basket which serves as a shopping bag, I still mourn them and wish for their revival whenever I see heaps of plastic bags thrown in the streets.
Tabag: a colourful large circle food cover, from braided straw (same as the one displayed in the Festival’s posters) , used to cover food as people gathered around the seeniya (round tray) , I recall trays being sent to our home from neighbours covered with rainbow tabags , as a welcome home gesture.
Amood: stacked containers of hotpots, Theamood is still an indispensable kitchen utensil, it is a manifestation of the famed Sudanese generosity and community spirit. The amood is stacked with food when visiting a person at the hospital or say in prison, when visiting friends on a special occasion or just for a plain good ole wanasa (chit chat).