Super Bowl Snacks
As people head to Phoenix this year for the Super Bowl, the feeling of excitement and anticipation is tangible. At such times there is a demand for food, especially quick and easy recipes that can be adjusted to feed a crowd.
Platters of chicken wings are always a hit. See South African peri-peri or Zesty orange chicken wings. Think of serving cocktail-sized Boerewors meatballs or Biltong. Platters of chips with a variety of dips, are easy fillers. If you have our book, South African Cooking in the USA, you will find some tasty dip recipes on pages 20 (Chutney dip) and 21 (Peppadew dip). Peppadews are peppery red fruits, similar in appearance to miniature red peppers, imported from South Africa. I have found these at specialty stores and also on Amazon.
South African cuisine
When Kathy and I decided to publish a book on South African cuisine here in the USA, I didn’t realize how much I would use our book on a daily basis. It obviously has a lot of my favorite recipes, all tested and ready to make! South African cuisine encompasses recipes with roots in many different countries and the blending and evolution of these recipes eventually resulted in the cuisine of the Rainbow Nation.
As I plan to eventually include photographs of all the recipes in our book in the Gallery, I have to make a concerted effort not to keep making my family’s favorites. On a recent visit, one of my grandsons went through the Gallery and ticked off all the recipes already photographed. He then chose a number of the unmarked recipes to make during his visit. This was great fun, and also got me out of my ‘regular favorites’ rut. Bread, page 176, buttermilk rusks, page 184 and microwave fudge, page 121, are standard favorite fare, and are always sent back with my grandchildren when they visit. And my Seattle grandsons are always very excited when they receive a package of gingernuts, page 170, crunchies, page 168, or Romany creams in the mail from me.
Raisin bread on page 180 was one of his choices. We made double quantity so that the yield would be one loaf plus plenty of dough for a variety of individual shapes and sizes, created by little hands. This is best served fresh and warm, although it also makes great toast. Another hit was the Fish breyani on page 48 – a traditional Cape Malay recipe adapted from Indian cuisine. This tasty entrée with eye-appeal can be assembled ahead of time. The Spicy kebaabs on page 23, served with our easy Chutney dip on page 20, also went down well. Finally, we made the Chicken liver pâté on page18, which was a treat – served on fresh brown bread, page 178.
A few more family visits like this, and we should have photographs of all the recipes in our book in no time at all!
A Brief Historical Overview
South African cuisine is a unique fusion of African, European and Eastern styles and flavors. The Rainbow Nation boasts a culinary heritage with strong Dutch, Indonesian, French, German, British, Indian and Portuguese influences. Food itself plays an important role in the story of South Africa.
Starting oddly enough in the kitchens of medieval Europe
These were dank and rather smelly affairs, where a forlorn and tortured cuisine cried out for a dash of the exotic. Something spicy was no doubt needed to make last week’s leftovers palatable. And so, over the centuries, fortunes were made and lost in procuring pepper and other wonders of the East, transporting them across the treacherous terrain of Central Asia.
One crisp spring evening in 1418, Prince Henry of Portugal lounged on his patio at Sagres. With a forlorn sigh, he pondered how geography had so cruelly cut his fatherland out of the action. Then, out of the clear blue sky and with echoes that still reverberate across the centuries, a thunderbolt struck: go South to go East. Forthwith, the prince dipped into the treasury and founded the world’s greatest school of navigation. Before the turn of the century, alumni Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama pioneered the sea route to the East round the southern tip of Africa. Others caught on quickly.
Soon the burgeoning trade along the new route was dominated by the world’s first multinational corporation, the Dutch East India Company. The shores of South Africa, however, remained largely untouched by all this traffic, with not even an oil slick to disturb the jackass penguins. Though King John II had swiftly rechristened Diaz’s Cape of Storms, the Cape of Good Hope, the reputation had stuck and wise captains steered their precious cargoes well clear of the hazardous coastline.
Now our hero, Food, again takes the stage. In particular, fresh fruit and vegetables
Said wise captains got their cargoes of spices safely to the dockyards of Holland, but – as their paymasters gradually realized – often at the cost of half the crew. Malnutrition struck down many an able seaman. The Council of Seventeen therefore saw fit in 1652 to establish a provisioning station at the Cape of Good Hope. The rest is history.
Bloody, sometimes distasteful and certainly not the stuff of cookbooks. Company men striking out on their own, exiled eastern princes and sages, persecuted Huguenots, Hottentots, Khoi-san, the powerful Nguni and Sotho tribes. The British stepping in to save the Cape from Napoleon. Shaka. Diamonds. Gold. Boer Wars. The Union of South Africa, Smuts. The Old South Africa. Mandela. The New South Africa.