The Remarkable Baobab – Thomas Pakenham

“I laid aside all thoughts of sports, as soon as I perceived a tree of prodigious thickness, which drew my whole attention.” – Michel Adanson

I guess to most people reading a book about the baobab tree might seem like an odd choice. Truth is, I’ve been quite obsessed with the tree for a long time. I first came across its mention in the little prince as a youngster, and while on vacation in Africa I encountered one for the first time. It’s a truly wonderful tree.


Les Baobabs – Le Petit Prince

This book was more of a coffee table book. The pictures were absolutely beautiful and looked quite unreal, they were of baobab trees from all over Africa.

The book contains  some basic information about the tree, for example it’s godly status in some culture, its use (shelter, food, clothing), history about the European travellers who saw it.

It was a quick, informative read but I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the book didn’t go into detail about how important the tree is to the African people, nor did it contain any of the myths of the baobab tree, some of which I’d heard relatives say over the years. The only one I remember goes a little something like is:

The baobab was the most beautiful and majestic tree in the African savannah. It soon gained quite the ego and wouldn’t stop bragging, and the other trees started to dislike it.  Finally, even God had enough of the baobab’s arrogance and uprooted it from the ground and threw it back into the ground headfirst. That’s why the baobab looks like it’s growing upside-down.


Off topic – the hospital I was born in is called Baobab Hospital. Unfortunately, the area I was born in isn’t hot and dry enough for baobabs, but the hospital is surrounded by bougainvillea.

My Aunt bought me a kilo of baobab fruit flour a while back. When I was a child, we used to eat the fruit and chew on the seed. It was delicious, a little bit citrusy in taste. During my last trip back home, my cousin introduced me to baobab popsicles and I fell in love with them!  I’ve  heard baobab fruit flour is the next big thing in beauty products, and I’ve even used it to make my own facemasks. It really should be the next big thing in cooking as well, especially as it’s so high in vitamin C.

Baobab Fruit Flour
Baobab Fruit Flour

Baobab Pod Broken to Reveal the Seeds


I’ve never added any recipes on this blog which is weird because I cook quite a lot and I’m always creating new recipes. I was inspired to make the following when I first tried Larabars, which use very few ingredients in their energy bars. It was a bit impromptu so I didn’t weigh the ingredients exactly.  I don’t even have a name for this recipe. I used roughly:

1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup assorted dried fruit and nuts (I used almonds, pistachios, raisins and cranberries)
1 tbsp baobab flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cardamon
1 tsp ginger
Some dark chocolate shavings
1 tbsp butter

A few of the ingredients
A few of the ingredients

I heated the butter in a frying pan then added the chopped nuts and fruit mixture. I sauted them until golden brown and then set them aside.

Next, I added the dates to the saucepan and heated them on medium heat until they started melting a bit. I then added the remaining ingredients and mixed well and shaped them into small ball-like shapes.

I just loved how they tasted! I could really taste the baobab fruit flour too. What’s even better is that there’s so much more room for experimentation! I’m thinking next time I could add some citrus zest, dried cherries, peanut butter, cinnamon and even dried mangoes!





4 thoughts on “The Remarkable Baobab – Thomas Pakenham

  1. I’ve always thought baobab trees are beautiful (I don’t remember where I first saw a picture of them–in National Geographic magazine when I was a kid, probably). This book sounds very interesting.

    I’m glad your recipe turned out well–they certainly look and sound very tasty!

  2. My son loves these trees, he loves baobabs, because of course they are the companion for his animals, though he tells me his favourite tree is the acacia and I just looked that up and realise that’s very much part of the African landscape as well.

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