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Bookstyle Nairobi!

Meet Ubax, the owner of our new favorite Nairobi bookshop! Born in London to Kenyan-Somali parents, she's created a truly incredible space and community around her thoughtfully curated collection of books and publications. It's more important now than ever that we support our independent booksellers, wherever in the world they may be! We're always thinking of creative ways to connect world-wide, so here's a little glimpse inside Cheche, and we hope you'll enjoy the tour!  In the meantime, you can find our crowd-sourced list of bookshops we love on our Community Reading List HERE!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Afros and Knives Podcast

Afros and Knives, hosted by Chef Tiffani, is a culinary, culture and lifestyle podcast that has hosted conversations with black women who work, lead and create in the food, wine, and hospitality industries. We've found these conversations to be super inspiring, and we especially love the intimate way they play out, bringing the listener into the fold, so to speak:)  We hope you'll check it out!

 

WHAT WE'RE READING// Luster (a novel)

A best book of the year according to Vanity Fair, The NYT Book Review, and NPR among others, it's safe to say that we're not the only ones who truly enjoyed this book! This story of an independent, multi-dimensional young woman trying to make sense of her life is told with such wit, skill and humor, the writing alone is worth the read. 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Mahalia Jackson

As one of the most influential gospel singers and civil rights activists in the United States, Mahalia Jackson once explained that she chose gospel over blues because "With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues." (Fair enough.) She was given the honor of performing at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Atlanta funeral, and in this album, she pays tribute to him once again by singing his best loved hymns. 

 

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING // @VELMA.ROSAI

Velma Rosai-Makhandia is a fashion and art director/photographer/(icon!) based in Kenya, and we are HUGE FANS. Founder of both the style blog 2manysiblings and also the monthly pop-up event, Thrift Social*, she epitomizes the individuality of Nairobi style.  

*Fun Fact! The photo on our 'About Us' page was taken at an early Thrift Social event

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WEAR YOUR GREENS! // LET'S GET COOKING!

There was once a time when our idea of "salad" extended no further than an avocado and a spoon, but flash forward a few years (and a few olympic-sized satchels of quinoa from the "aughts"), and we're proud to say that things have gotten pretty tasty around here!  Join us on our technicolor journey of culinary exploration; we've been cooking up a storm!

Sandra's Squash / Spinach (Squach?) Salad

These are guestimates! Use how much/many works for you, it's flexible! This serves 2 hungry people as a meal, 3 medium hungry or 4 with a main.

4 cups spinach

1 delicata squash, sliced in 1/2" rounds (leave the seeds)

1-2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 heaping tsp curry powder

1 generous tbs raisins

Olive oil

Sherry vinegar (red wine or apple cider vinegar also work!)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash rounds and chickpeas in the bowl, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and curry powder. Arrange everything on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 mins (until everything is browning and crispy). Place the raisins in a small bowl and just cover with sherry vinegar. Let sit until you're ready to assemble the salad. In a salad bowl, dress the spinach with a glug of olive oil and dash of sherry vinegar, plus salt and pepper. Once the squash and chickpeas are ready, add them to the salad bowl along with the pickled raisins (you can just dump the whole bowl vinegar and all), and you're ready to eat! As with most things, feel free to add a dollop of yogurt or a fried egg to make it even more festive!

Kenyan-Style Kachumbari

This classic salad from the Rift Valley is a simple but zingy addition to any meal. Personally, we love it with grilled snapper, lime and chapati!  While it's typically a tomato-based salad, we like to add cucumber, cilantro and chili as well for additional crunch. Click here for the one of our favorite kachumbari recipes!

 

 

Carrot Turmeric Chapati

Here in Nairobi, chapati is served with almost every meal, and this carrot/turmeric twist pairs perfectly with both salads above! Here's a fail-proof carrot chapati recipe that we think you'll love. Now I guess we could say: "That's a wrap!" 

 

 

 

INSTA CORNER! WHO WE'RE FOLLOWING: @DIASPORACO

Carrying on with our food theme, if you're looking for delicious, single-origin spices that are equitably traded, look no further! Sana Javeri Kadri founded Diaspora Co. to create a radically new vision of the spice trade, and she is knocking it out of the park! What we love about her Instagram page is her openness about the ups and downs of her business journey and of course, the wonderfully savory recipes she shares. (How do they stack up against "Squach"™ ⬆️ ? You be the judge.) 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Blick Bassy

Sung completely in the Cameroonian language of Bassa, singer/songwriter Blick Bassy brings the unlikely pairing of cello and trombone to his bluesy, bossa nova influenced style. With a focus on such universal themes as the need for heroes and the relevance of history, it's a strong album sung softly that will resonate with us all, especially right now. 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING// In Bibi's Kitchen by Hawa Hassan

Named one of the best cookbooks of the year, "In Bibi's Kitchen" chronicles the delicious stories and recipes gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African nations, many of which are at the backbone of the spice trade (including: South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea). Pick it up, meet these amazing women, and start your culinary tour de force!

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Code Switch on NPR

We're frequent listeners of the podcast "Code Switch", because it explores themes of race and culture fearlessly, with broad curiosity. Their recent episode, Finding 'A Perfect Match', tells the story of two close friends who both suffered from the same aggressive form of cancer. After years of treatment, one lived and the other didn't. And while many variables factored into what happened, the woman who survived considers what role race had played in the outcome. 

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Weekly Newsletter May 12, 2020

Playing with Pattern!

It all started with a "what would happen if..." and a "I wonder if I could..." and then before we knew it, we had three dresses on at once and it was MARVELOUS. So if you're wondering about layers and mixing and matching, here are some tips from our pattern layering pros:

WHAT WE'RE COOKING // The Bomb Fishcakes by Jasmine Macharia

We love a good fishcake, and we're huge fans of Nairobi's own celebrity chef, Jasmine Macharia. These butternut-based goodies are baked, not fried, and designed to be made and enjoyed at home! Perfect for dinner or lunch with a crunchy salad or oven fries! Fun fact: she's making a special cameo on our website--looking good, Jaz!!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Sampa the Great

Born in Zambia and raised in Botswana, Sampa's music is a totally original sound, bridging hip-hop with traditional southern African musical influences. This album "Birds and the Bee9" is my favorite of hers--super smooth, adding energy to the room while still allowing for space and conversation.  Try playing this album the next time you're making dinner; you will not want to turn it off!

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // STILL PROCESSING by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris

Hosts Jenna and Wesley are culture writers at the New York Times, and in this podcast, they discuss everything from Halle Berry's "Catwoman" to how human relationships have evolved in our new social distanced internet culture. We especially recommend their recent episode, "How to Learn From a Plague," where they talk about activism during the AIDs epidemic and how it applies today.

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Weekly Newsletter Mar 16, 2020

An update from our stores

We have decided for the health and safety of our team and our customers to temporarily close our stores on Fillmore and Bleecker through the end of the month. We will continue to pay our team for all their scheduled hours during this time. We plan to continue shipping online orders for the foreseeable future, but our shipping schedule will be reduced to weekly, instead of daily, meaning that your orders will take a little longer to reach you!

We're feeling especially mindful of those around us who aren't able to social distance, work from home or stock a pantry, so we just want to remind everyone to look out for those in your community, especially the most vulnerable. Whether that's donating to your local food bank, leaving a thoughtful note for your neighbor, or calling someone who's been on your mind, please, let's remember to stay connected!

Let's do something together: Zuri CHALLENGE and Office Hours!

Many of us are feeling isolated and anxious, so we thought, what can we do to stay connected and also be active? 

And sooooo!! 

We're going to be issuing a DAILY CHALLENGE and we hope that you'll join us! The only rule for the challenge is that it has to involve things that you already have around you and it has to bring us together. 

Daily from 1pm to 2pm EST, we'll have Office Hours, where members of our team will be on Instagram Live and we'll announce the challenge, and also be available to you to talk! Plus, if there's someone from our team that you've wanted to meet, now's your chance! 

Our first challenge kicks off TOMORROW, so join Ashleigh and me on Instagram Live at 1pm EST and let's hang out!! :)

PS here's a hint for our first challenge...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // ZOMBA PRISON PROJECT

The Zomba Prison Project is a compilation of songs that are composed and recorded by prisoners held at the Zomba Central maximum-security Prison in Malawi. Mostly sung in the Chichewa language, these songs will absolutely speak to you. Proceeds from these records go toward the legal representation of several of the musicians, and since the albums have come out, three of the female prisoners featured have had their cases reviewed and been released. This is a mix we made of a few favorite tracks from both released albums. Feel free to pass it on!

WHAT WE'RE READING // Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith

We're huge fans of Tracy K. Smith, and it's not just because she wears Zuris or because she was the US Poet Laureate (though those are pretty major reasons!)! She's a writer who truly speaks to our time, the way that she develops her own understanding of self and identity is so deeply resonant in this stunning memoir, and we can't recommend it enough!

PS: we're huge fans of the public library (and our lending library, where we have this book!), but we also want to remind everyone that if you can, please support your local independent bookstores! In times like these especially, small businesses are really vulnerable, and your support makes a difference for them and your community!

WHAT WE'RE STREAMING // Call Your Girlfriend by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow

Call your girlfriend! Many of us can relate to these conversations between best friends Aminatou and Ann, and while many of us are at home or feeling disconnected, or have already talked to all our girlfriends and still want to keep talking, listening to this podcast makes you feel like you're right there with them, hanging out and talking about what's new, interesting and important in our world today.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE COOKING // Bryant Terry's Warm Butter Bean Salad with Roasted Bell Peppers

Bay Area chef Bryant Terry just published a fabulous cookbook called Vegetable Kingdom, and we thought that this would be a great recipe to share, since it's super delicious, and stars dry beans, which many of us have at home! If you don't have the fresh veggies in the recipe in your kitchen, don't worry! You can easily substitute zucchini for the peppers (or even smoke-y eggplant! or canned peppers), and if you don't have arugula, feel free to use any fresh herbs you may have, or if you have a jar of pesto, olive tapenade or sun-dried tomatoes, throw those on top instead! We're big proponents of taking a recipe and making it work for you based on what you have on hand! Eat this dish on its own or as a side or toss it with pasta! Enjoy!

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