Appetites: Somali-Americans blend cultures and flavor

Hamdi's family made pineapple cake for Thanksgiving
The first time Hamdi's family celebrated Thanksgiving they also celebrated their new country by adding to their Somali traditions. She and her sisters were proud of the pineapple cake they made and will remember it as their own Thanksgiving specialty.
Courtesy of Andrea Ellen Reed

This week on Appetites, we look at a new cookbook "Soo Fariista: Come Sit Down," put together by Somali-American youth in the Twin Cities and published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Hamdi, one of the high school members of Wariyaa: Somali Youth in Museums, a program put on by the MNHS, shared two recipes she contributed to the cookbook.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

• ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted

• ⅔ cup brown sugar

• 1 (14.5-ounce) can pineapple rings, drained

• Betty Crocker Super Moist Favorites Yellow Cake Mix

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat interior of a 9-inch square pan with melted butter, spreading along sides to prevent the cake from sticking.

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions and pour evenly over the pineapple slices. Bake according to package instructions.

Invert finished cake over a serving platter and remove from pan. Spoon any brown sugar mixture remaining in pan evenly over the cake and serve warm.

Hamdi's Livers

Hamdi's Liver
On a summer trip to Africa, Hamdi ate fried livers for breakfast. While this dish created controversy within the group, it was agreed that it is very Somali to eat liver--whether you like it or not.
Courtesy of James Castle

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 onion, diced

• 1 green bell pepper, diced

• 1 pound goat or beef liver, chopped

• 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon

• salt

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet until smoking. Add onion and green pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add liver and bouillon and cook for approximately 15 minutes, adding water if pan becomes dry. Season with salt to taste.

The cookbook release is part of a new exhibit called Somalis + Minnesota at the Minnesota History Center, which opens June 23.

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