SouthAfrica’s Exciting Melting Pot of Conflicting Culinary Possibilities

The history of South Africa has long been one of unfor- tunate oppression and painful reconciliations. European settlement of the area began in the 1600s when the Dutch, and later the French and Germans, invaded and took control of the area, which they retained for hundreds of years. Beyond Eu- ropean lifestyles, religions, and ideas, they brought with them a variety of foods and culinary influences. However, native cooking influenced the Europeans just as much as the Europeans affected the native population.

Biltong hangs and dries in the sun before being eaten.

As a result, a unique style of South African cooking—known as Afrikaans cuisine— developed. Most South African dishes follow this tradition and include a lot of dried meats, such as biltong , a type of jerky, and droewors , a dried sausage. These foods contain excessive levels of salts and preservative spices. Typical Afrikaans dishes contain red meat, potatoes, rice, and vegetables fla- vored with butter and sugar. Braai , or barbecue meat, consists of spiced sausage, kebabs, and steaks cooked over hot coals. Side dishes, such as bread rolls and sal- ads, were designed to be simple so they could be eaten while on the go. All of these foods were influenced not only by the tropical to temperate climate of South Africa but also by the tough on-the-go style of settlement common in the early colonial period. There was no time to preserve food, so dishes had to be easy to make and quick to eat. Traditional South African cuisine—which is separate from the Afrikaans style— consists of the foods of multiple subcultures, including Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa, and Zulu dishes. Like Afrikaans dishes, most traditional South African food is easy to prepare and quick to eat. However, it consists mostly of locally grown crops and


Culinary Arts

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