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Let Us Break Bread Together: It's A Party With Ugandan Treat Mandazi

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Courtesy of Adora Namigadde
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WOSU News Reporter Adora Namigadde poses for a photo with family members behind her and Ugandan treats, including mandazi (right side), in front of her.

WOSU News Reporter Adora Namigadde grew up savoring the traditional foods her Ugandan family prepared – including the lightly spiced Ugandan doughnut called mandazi. Namigadde says mandazi is at the heart of every family get-together. Seriously.

“I’m a first-generation American – I’m the first person in my family who was born in this country,” Namigadde said in a recent interview. “And I grew up with parents who said, ‘When you’re out in the world, you’re in America. But when you’re in this house, you’re in Uganda.’”

Namigadde was raised on mandazi as a dessert after family meals and at holidays and other special occasions.

“We would definitely have it with every sort of big holiday, big meal,” she said. “My family’s Catholic, so Christmas dinner, you’re going to have mandazi. Easter dinner, you’re going to have mandazi – someone is going to bring mandazi to the table.

“But we would also have it casually, too, because it’s pretty easy to make,” she continued. “You just make the dough and you fry it on the stove, and you’re done. And it also stores well and saves well day after day.”

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Credit Jennifer Hambrick
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WOSU News Reporter Adora Namigadde works on a story in our studios.

As a teenager, Namigadde learned all about mandazi when her mother taught her how to make Ugandan dishes and other favorites.

“About then I was just like, ‘I need to learn how to make everything my mom knows how to make before I go off to college,’” Namigadde said.

For Namigadde, mandazi is more than a sweet, yummy treat. Mandazi has always been about celebration.

“It just reminds me of having a good time,” she said. “My parents both love having people over. So if we were hosting for any reason, mandazi was going to be made, chai tea was going to be made, and you’re going to have the two things together.”

Said Namigadde: “There’s no way you can have a Ugandan party and not have mandazi. People would be like, seriously?”

On Thanksgiving Day, hear family bread stories from cultures around the world, along with beautiful American music during Thanksgiving with The American Sound – Let Us Break Bread Together at 2 p.m. on Classical 101. Then keep listening at 3 p.m. to enjoy Thanksgiving with the American Sound – Pilgrim's Restan hour of tranquil American music to fill your Thanksgiving with peace and joy.

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.