This Article is About
chamomile tea
bacon and eggs
boiled eggs
main meals
brown bread
breakfast lunch
cup of tea
types of food
The Foods I Enjoy
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Eating and drinking are the most regular and sensitive human activities to which we are all bound to do everyday. Eating is something I enjoy and tend to be quite fussy about. In this article I want to describe the types of food I eat most of the time and the ones that I enjoy. Of course culture and money play an important role in determining the quality and quantity of food and drink we consume.

BREAKFAST

There are three main meals everyday, namely, breakfast, lunch and diner. Breakfast is a very important meal, as the old saying goes: "Eat your breakfast like a king, your lunch like a nobleman and your supper like a pauper". True to its name it comes after a long night of sleeping. For me breakfast sets the mood of the whole day.

In the morning, while the two slices of brown bread are in the toaster, I settle down with two glasses of water or one glass of orange juice. Then I pour into the dish warm porridge made up of maize or sorghum mealie meal, and mix it with milk and brown sugar. Sometimes I take a cereal with slices of banana fruit, milk and brown sugar. This is followed by a plate of one toast of brown bread spread with margarine or butter and two medium boiled eggs and two cocktail sausages, or the toasted bacon and eggs with cheese and a portion of vegetables or green salad. To minimize the intake of cholesterol, I got into the habit of removing the yoke and eat only the white of an egg. The second toast is spread with margarine and marmalade, strawberry or fig jam. Every morning I conclude my breakfast with a warm chamomile tea, which is good for calming the nerves and makes me ready to face up to the oncoming day.

LUNCH & DINER

The authorities are recommending that we take two glasses of water before the main meals. At intervals between the main meals, we may take a cup of tea with biscuits or sandwitch, a glass of juice or some fruits.

Except on weekends or holidays, lunch is a simpler meal than diner, as it must be taken within the constraints of the work conditions. Nevertheless, I will discuss lunch and diner together because they contain more or less the same contents of food. Occasionally, it all starts with aperitif to wet the appetite just before proceeding to the diner table. Then soup is served. I always enjoy hot soup especially in winter, to a point of taking a second helping. My favourites are oxtail, mushroom and vegetable soup appropriately spread with croutons and spiced with garlic, mint, mixed herbs, etc.

For the main course, I enjoy foods (indigenous and foreign) which have health sustenance and body building ingredients such as starch, proteins, iron, calcium and phospherous. In the Zulu culture, the most basic foods are maize, sorghum, beans, vegetables and meat. There is a variety of ways in which maize can be prepared. Maize-cobs still soft and fresh from the field are pealed and cooked in water and served. People take it by hand and enjoy it while still warm. Some people apply butter on the maize, and others eat it as it is. Another way is to roast the maize-cob by placing it next to the hot red fire wood coals in the fire-hearth or on the yard outside the house. To avoid burning the maize, the one preparing it must keep a watchful eye and keep on turning the cob around whenever s/he notices that the side next to the fire is turning brown. One has to acquire a skill to do it properly. While still hot, the maize-cob is put back into its cover and served. It is eaten from hand to mouth, or the roasted maize grains are pealed off from the cob by fingers and thrown into the mouth and enjoyed; and it is very delicious indeed! Maize, sorghum and wheat are also ground into powder, prepared and served either as home made bread, "phuthu" (dry porridge), stiff pap or dumplings.

On the other hand, there is a rich variety of edible indigenous and common vegetables and roots. In addition to the common roots such as sweet potato and Irish potato, there is also "dumbe" which is a speciality of KwaZulu Natal Province (South Africa). Among a variety of green indigenous vegetables, I want to mention "cadolo", "gobole" and "ntshungu." The last type is a delicacy characterised by a strongly bitter taste. "Ntshungu" is called mormordica foetida, and it belongs to a species of edible climbing gourd. The elderly folks love it very much. The pumpkin and its leaves are also widely used; and so is squash, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, chives and onions.

Regarding meat, there is beef, chicken, fish, mutton and pork which are common, whereas goat meat is used only occasionally, in the context of family rituals. In terms of costs, chicken is the most available meat. Among the many ways in which meat is prepared, barbercue or "braaivleis" is the most popular. As one strolls along a township road on a Sunday afternoon, it is common to get a whiff of aromatic breeze from a barbercue nearby, with a roar of laughter as friends enjoy themselves.

Green salad is always prepared as an essential part of the meal. It can be taken at the beginning or end of the meal. With appropriate combination of different salads, herbs, spices and salad dressing, the salad dish is always a delicious element of the whole meal.

Concerning drinks, during the meal a glass of wine, water or juice are offered. However, strong beverages like beer, spirits, brandy and whisky are reserved for the time of relaxation which is about an hour after the meal.

There is always a social dimension to the meals. A meal is much more enjoyable in the company of friends, relatives and neighbours, in an atmosphere of laughter, humour, conversation and song. In the context of a family, music may be played softly during conversation after the meal. But at the conclusion of a community meal, people in a mood of thanksgiving voluntarily render musical items and poetry in solo or in groups. They sing and dance, amid shouts of joy, clapping and ululating.


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