South African Cuisine
|THE POT pictured on the new South African flag|
The pot (die potjie) and the barbecue (die braai) are more or less what the original South African kitchen is all about. Generations of all populations loved, and still do, preparing and eating their foods outside. Modern grills (braiis) are built in under roofs, so the ritual can take place under all weather circumstances. Braais can be found on balconies, in back gardens, atttached to grand hotels and -of course- at camping sites and outside tradtitonal houses of all ethniticities. The main ingredient of the dishes is meat, meat, meat. But also fish, chicken, maize on the cob and vegetables (today mostly wrapped in foil). Sometimes bread with cheese and onion rings is toasted alongside and delicious salads and atchars (pickled veggies and fruit) are prepared by the womenfolk. The braai cooking is in 99% of all cases done by the men. They swing large tools, large glasses of beer and large words. A braai is a matter of strict apartheid, ladies one side, gentlemen apart. The ceremony begins with the lighting of the fire, either wood or charcoal, which has to burn until there are no more flames, but only the smouldering coals. First the slow cooking meat is put on one side of the braai grill, then the sausage rounds (boerewors) the chops and the chicken, until it all comes together sizzling:
The happy mood, the lively chatter, the billowing smoke and enticing smells hanging in the air of the entire neighbourhoods on week ends cannot be pictured, but believe me that a braaing South African is a deeply content South African. A decent braai is the number one missing item for people who have emigrated, an American barbecue is just not the same. Other main ingredients of a successful braai are the almost permanent sunshine, the serious discussions of rugby plays and players, the South African beer, which are mostly held in a language which the children should be barred from....
AFRIKAANS WOMEN DURING THE GROOT TREK MAKING USE OF THE POT DURING UITSPAN, COMPARED TO A SAMPLE OF MORE MODERN BRAAI FACILITIES
(Some folks got a bit miffed at the photo I placed on the previous post on how some people put the pot to use. However, cannibalism is a very definate fact in the African history and there are whispers, that the custom to eat each other is not quite eliminated yet. I'll make it subject of one of the next posts.
The modern culinary recipes, which of course do not consist only of pots and grills are a conglomerate of foods brought into the country from almost all parts of the world. Some have proven so popular, that they are favourites of all communities these days. Some "lekker" samples are:
Common Ingredients for Traditional African Food
Images of all kinds of South African cooks and kitchens:
Two other South African specialities that -among many other culinary African delights - did not get a mention today are "biltong" (air dried salted strips of meat) and "droewors" (air dried spiced sausages). I am a vegetarian and coulden't bring myself to describe the making of these two essential staples in South African munching.
I wish everybody a fantastic beginning of spring, while we are sorting our cupboards to find the warm boots and jerseys to greet winter.
Lots of greetings from beneath the equator,