Food doesn’t lie, fib or misrepresent itself. It has neither the capacity to over-sex itself or speak its politics.
Food has the uncanny habit of blowing the lid off, depending on its handler. Nothing could be more true than the fact that, “a crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety” — Aesop.
The wisdom of kids and their inability to hide their candour is something to ponder, for instance when they decide to get even with the next door neighbour by inviting them for diner when they fully know mummy can not cook. Your kids know what mealie meal porridge in a pot nine days old tastes like.
An hour after supper the plates are still full, meanwhile they are still commenting on how wonderful the drinks are and so you graciously console yourself by giving the food to the dogs that in turn yelp and roll over.
Then you get to thinking perhaps the neighbourhood rats might partake in the feast only to discover the exact same load still in the bowls the next day . . .
Just keep moving forward one foot ahead of the other, arriving at one goal is a starting point for another. So don’t worry if your son is the type to go outside to make mud pies and the rest of the family follow with knives and forks.
Teaching good food etiquette and executing simple, edible recipes is learnt. We are not born with an innate sense of manners and “gourmetry”; it is taught from the collective observation of other families who can cook and taking note of behaviour we want to mimic.
Its building blocks are in baby-size phases eg how to cook simple veggies, how to get your kids to sit in one place and eat around complimentary conversation, as opposed to them automatically running from the table every time they hear an ambulance siren. Just as you cannot whistle with sadza in your mouth or eat as much as possible before you lose your appetite . . . Food is pleasure, joy, living and tidy portions of food to be cleaned off the plate.
Chilli represents your three stages of matter, solid, liquid, and eventually gas . . . Have fun with it, live a little. Why you might even see telltale signs of lemon slices in the dogs water bowl.
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It is about a Zimbabwean way of life and food, it’s about having fun sharing the Zimbabwean experience and most importantly it’s about researching the material for the book.