There are a few foods that will accompany you through large parts of the African continent: the infamous roasted chicken, fried banana and plantains; in the tropics, yams and sweet potato. And of course, Africa's version of polenta: fufu, ugali, sadza, pap... Pap might be the most fitting name for the cheap staple food that those who can afford it will have with soups, vegetables, and meat while those who can't will have it as is, with a with tomatoes.

Some readers might think it's crazy to go and eat street food in Africa. They have seen the images of meat buzzing with flies in the hot African sun. Well, if it makes you feel any better: cooked meat is hard to come by on the streets; and if you find it it's been cooked until every last trace of life is gone. And by the way: the meat is usually really fresh - you can watch the butcher do his work right by the side of the road.

What are you thinking of when somebody says 'Christmas'? Christmas to me is first and foremost about food. I can easily do without presents. I'm not religious. And please leave me alone with cold and snow! But for some reason, I always start feeling Christmassy when I spend hours preparing food. So what better way of commemorating the festive season than by talking for the next few days about food (and drink) in Africa? I'll set the scene by telling you a bit about how I'll spend Christmas this year and what I did the year before.

Doing it the smart way I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love my smart phone. However, before the trip I had decided that Africa wasn't the right continent for a device with a touch screen and a battery that could barely survive for one day. I had also decided that getting a travel SIM would connect me to friends and family regardless of where I was. How wrong I was!

Notes on traveling is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache