At last, twenty-six months after starting this world-wide cooking journey, I have reached my final country, Zimbabwe. I can't begin to express what an amazing trip this has been, and none of it would have been possible without the love, support and generosity of my family and friends. Looking back, I could never have imagined all the incredible food, experiences and friendships I've had the privilege to try and experience. Special props go to my Mom, who taught me everything I know about food and love. To my sister and brother who can cook it up and throw it down like the bosses they are. To my husband and children, who sampled, critiqued and went along with all my crazy rambling, endless peanut stews and still love me (you guys are saints). And to very special friends: Beth, Merri, Lucy, Lisa, Ben and John (who gave me tonight's recipe and wants everyone to know he's an Irish-Italian stud). Lastly, to all my new friends from around the world who gave me recipes, advice and shared your cultures with me with such openness and generosity - I am honored to be in your company.
A landlocked country in the southern part of Africa, Zimbabwe is bordered by South Africa, Bostwana, Nambia and Mozambique. At one time a British colony, Zimbabwe declared its independence in 1980. The main languages spoken in this African country are English, Shona and Ndebele. Although most of the country is a savana, it also has mountains, a tropical climate as well as evergreen and hardwood forests. Home to the world's biggest and most spectacular waterfall, the Victoria Falls attracts tourist from around the globe to witness its raw and beautiful power. Rich in biodiversity, Zimbabwe boasts 500 species of birds, 350 species of mammals such as rhinos, baboons and giraffes as well as a huge range of reptiles such as snakes and lizards. Zimbabwe has one of the largest platinum and diamond resources in the world, but these vast and valuable resources have not been fully realized due to poor governmental oversite, corruption and mismanagement. Fortunately, this is beginning to change, making the promise of the country's future more optimistic.
Food in Zimbabwe is based on mealie meal, a cornmeal and water porridge that is eaten alone or with gravy, vegetables such as spinach, greens, beans, sour milk, dried fish or peanut butter. Peanut and tomato based stews are also a common staples. Due to British colonization, rice, pasta, melon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and potato-based dishes along with porridge and tea are still eaten by many. For weddings and graduations, goat or cow might be enjoyed. Closer to the South African border, Afrikaner recipes using jerky, sausage, beef lamb and pork might also be cooked for special occasions.
Chop up some onions, saute and add spices, vinegar and jam - simmer until thickened
Grill and serve!
Sosaties (Grilled Marinated Meat with Apricots) - Adapted from Global Gourmet
2 pounds lamb, cut into 1" pieces
1 pound pork, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 tablespoons oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in
2 tablespoons red wine
1/2 pound dried apricots
1/2 cup dry sherry
Place the lamb and pork pieces in a large bowl that has been rubbed with the clove of garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and toss.
In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes, then add the curry powder and garlic. sauté for another minute. Add the sugar, tamarind paste, vinegar, and jam and stir well. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the onions, and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. This should take about 3 minutes. Cool, then add to the meat and toss well. Marinate for 2-3 days.
One day before preparing the sosaties, combine the dried apricots and sherry in a small bowl, cover, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Drain meat from sauce and reserve. Thread lamb, pork, and apricots on skewers. Grill over charcoal until browned on all sides. Serve with heated reserved sauce.
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