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Museum of Oxford Digital Exhibitions

Kitchen utensils


Calabash bowls_Jacqui Gitau.jpg

Calabash bowls (photo: Jacqui Gitau)

These objects are hollow because they are used for cooking and eating.

In the Philippines, people fill the bamboo cane with rice, wrap it and place over a fire so that the rice inside is steamed. They then crack the cane open and eat fresh, steamy rice from the cane.

Calabash is a type of gourd, much like pumpkins. They can be dried and hollowed out to be used as kitchen utensils. Their use varies based on the size. The bigger ones can be used as a bowl for food, for example uji, traditional Kenyan fermented porridge. The smaller ones can be used as a scoop for grains and flour, or as a ladle for soups and collecting water from the river and filling our pot before carrying it home. 

Calabash bowls/scoops are known around the world. This one comes from Kenya and belongs to Jacqui Gitau, an Oxford based charity director and community organiser.