Food Update

7 10 2010

Far from going hungry, I may be getting fat.  As a guest, the community has ensured that I eat well, or more appropriately, eat a lot.

I was somewhat surprised that I have only had pap once since arriving in Riempi.  Pap is a solid, gooey substance made from corn meal.  It is a staple in African diets all over the continent. As the Coloured culture is dominant in my area, however, it is not popular.

Rice is the common filler to replace the pap.  It is generally one of a few starches served with a meal.  A starch will generally be served as a replacement for vegetables, the most common of which is cabbage.

Most of my dinners have included meat, but the cheapest variety, which is sold in stores as “meaty bones.”  The name is appropriate, as the small, edible portion must be mined from amidst the rock hard surroundings.

I think my cholesterol is going through the roof.

I suppose this really shouldn’t be shocking since I am perfectly comfortable with Sweet Tea from the South, but another surprise is the amount of sugar used in hot drinks.  The average amount of sugar requested in tea is around five to seven.  They think I am insane because I drink my coffee black.

A reassuring word for American women that struggle giving up alcohol during pregnancy: Milk Stout (beer) is considered a healthy drink for pregnant women.  “Good for the baby!”

The most interesting meal I’ve had so far in Riemvasmaak is the notorious “smiley.”  The name derives from the shape of the mouth of the sheep’s head as it is served to you on the plate.  Everything is eaten. The tongue was my favorite bit.  The cheek was very rubbery and not enjoyable.  The eyeballs tasted like hardboiled eggs.

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Mzoli’s

23 02 2010

This restaurant is so famous across Cape Town that it even gets the white people to go to the townships.  The reputation is well-deserved.  There is a deli cooler in the front room filled with steaks, boerwoers, ground beef, hearts, etc. from which you select what you would like to eat.  Then, they send you to the back room to get the meat cooked.  The room is wall-to-wall grills, and you hand your meat to one of the grill-masters.  Meanwhile, you can choose from two side items: pap and steamed bread.  Pap (Ugali for you Kenyans out there) is a rice-mush that you could plug tires with.  The bread is to dip in the barbeque sauce. There was not a vegetable in sight.

Please don’t ask for cutlery, you’ll embarrass me.  You eat with your hands.

It was reminiscent, of course, to the barbeque of the American South.  Lots of meat and carbs.  The dipping of the bread in barbeque sauce, in particular, reminded me of the Birmingham restaurant Dreamland.