The Njombe Road
Mary Jo McMillin
Decades-old letters to home now transformed into memoir, The Njombe Road spans the breadth of Mary Jo McMillin’s journey in East Africa from 1963 to 1965. Her travels and experience throughout the continent would ignite what would become a lifelong love of cooking. As a teacher and as a cook, all her senses would take in and absorb the flavors of locality, the strains of multiculturalism, and the traditions and harsh legacy of colonialism. Along the way, in impressionistic vignettes of memory, she punctuates her essay with lush passages of meals, scenes, students, and neighbors until a sprawling narrative is built. It is an immersion that utterly fascinates and consumes, taking us right there with her in her daily flashes of life, her preserved slice of time.