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Food in Kanga, 1985-2010

Around half of all food eaten by villagers is produced within the village (see previous section on cultivation), the remainder is purchased from village shops. The processing of food is very labour-intensive and is mainly done by women: fetching wood and water, winnowing paddy and pounding it in a pestle and mortar, cooking over a wood fire. The staples are rice, sweet potatoes and cassava, with interest added by vegetables such as spinach, fish or, very occasionally, chicken or meat. Fruit such as oranges, mangoes, limes is available on a seasonal basis.

Families usually eat together at home, but men and women always eat separately on ritual occasions and for large feasts. In the latter instance, the food is usually cooked by women, but occasionally by men.

There are several tea-shops in the village which sell tea and doughnuts (mandazi). These are patronized exclusively by men, although women sometimes cook the snacks.

Shop-keepers in the village buy their food from Dar es Salaam so the costs of transport have to be added. In addition, wholesale prices of food have risen in recent years after the change in government policy from a socialist to a neo-liberal regime and the demise of price controls. There is less food security today than at the beginning of this period.