Take the conditions in the suburban ghettos of Lagos, Nairobi, or Kinshasa and superimpose them on the place where you live now. Think of what would happen if suddenly militias ran the streets and you had to survive on the food in your pantry, and food smuggled in or the food growing on your window sill or in a neighbours back yard. Imagine how you would cope as time wore on. What food would you and your community value as you huddle in small communities under the shadow of a local warlord?
These ideas create dramatic images of a future that is scary but one I feel compelled to imagine. I try to give these scenarios some humanity to temper the sense of horror
But if these things are difficult to imagine then try recalling images and memories from Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunder Dome, Tank Girl, or one of the many movies set in a post apocalyptic nightmare. The makers of these films show images of suburbs being laid to waste and vast distances between encampments being controlled by brutally violent militia. Imagine how with all the pain and loss and with electronic communications infrastructure limited and little connection with the world, would not the feeling of isolation and the grind of each day push you to appreciate the simplicity and joy of a shared meal or a special food?
The Age of Warlords has begun! We in the privileged west (the shrinking minority) do not feel it yet but all over Africa as in many other countries the grinding, hustling, relentlessly violent age is well and truly in place!
The Age of Warlords Cook Book is about how we who have almost always known abundance and privilege might respond to the coming of wide spread war and disorder brought on by resource scarcity, climate change, and growth obsessed capitalism. It is an exercise in speculative empathy and an exploration of food, culture, community, and resilience in a violent future that is the present for so many humans!