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South Africa Beat

March 29th, 2011 by

I don’t know what it is about the word ‘Africa.’ It tends to make people think of elephants, giraffes, black people, malaria, colors, drums, sunsets, sand and I could go on and on about the common words that spring to the tips of many people’s tongue when they hear the word ‘Africa.’ I am not going to blog about any of those items. The subject is food and the place is South Africa, more specifically the Southern tip around Cape Town. At the University of Gastronomic Sciences, we commonly are seeking the local delights of a place. In other words, “What exists here that does not exist anywhere else?” It was not until my voyage to South Africa until my somewhat cloudy belief was verified: Rather than be fixated on discovering an unknown dish, we should seek more to understand what people eat and how they have adapted their methods of cooking and dining and drinking to their way of life.

Ideas travel.
Food is not copyrighted.
People are creative, and new is overrated.
It’s like William Blake once said…. “The eye altering, alters all.”
In South Africa there is a mish mosh of people and thus culture and ultimately cuisine. Due to its history of being colonized by the Dutch and than the British and because of the slaves brought from India and Malaysia, South Africa has a myriad of realities, contradicting realities. From the pristine landscape of the Stellenbosch vineyards to the shacks that were built for colored people and blacks; from the spicy Malaysian cuisine to the Brai, from expensive organic smoothies to Oreos for the poor, you never get lost in South Africa. Your senses are hyper-aware because your surroundings are constantly changing.

(Stellenbosch- one of the many realities)

(Township- Just miles away from reality # 1)

Imagine how different the food with which they nourish themselves is:
(from local kingclip accompanied by a local new world wine….)

(to cow head…)


The moral of this post is something like this: When you travel, you are not traveling to just one place- and furthermore enjoy the noshing and try, and I know it is hard, to silence that voice of scrutiny

(Who would have thought that in a place where you find apple strudel…)

(…you would also find biltong: dried meet: similar to beef jerky but not cooked first)



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