“Red wine with fish. Well that should have told me something.“
From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
Our first view of Saint Petersburg (pronounced Sankt Pyterborrg or just Pyterborrg by Russians) was from the window of the Meteor (hydrofoil vessel) from Peterhof. A cheerful, high pitched woman’s voice shrieked and crackled over the loudspeaker in Russian – no doubt telling us the mysteries and wonders of Saint Petersburg. However, the Meteor was packed full of Chinese tourists and we three auspicious caucasians squished like sardines in among them.
“Natalie was nervous because I had explained that she would be treated differently because she was white, that she would have to work harder than other girls to gain my parents’ trust. And so they devised a plan: We agreed that on the first meeting my wife would not accept tea, she would instead make tea in the home of my parents. With that gesture, she showed that she did not have a superiority complex, that she was willing to make a gesture, however small, to gain acceptance.”
MMUSI MAIMANE Prophet or Puppet? by S’Thembiso Msomi
There is a story that I’ve not been able to verify unequivocally, but which seems to be accepted as a fact:
On a visit to America some time in the 1800’s, Queen Victoria changed etiquette rules forevermore, by picking up a chicken wing with her fingers and eating it thus. Whether she saw this as a more efficient way to handle a chicken wing, or that it was preferable in the name of diplomacy to do as the Americans did, we will never know. Continue reading Eating with your fingers
“Recipe for Murder: 1 stocky man who abuses his wife, 1 small tender wife, 1 medium-sized tough woman in love with the wife, 1 double-barrelled shotgun, 1 small Karoo town marinated in secrets, 3 bottles of Klipdrift brandy, 3 little ducks, 1 bottle of pomegranate juice, 1 handful of chilli peppers, 1 mild gardener, 1 fire poker, 1 red-hot New Yorker, 7 Seventh-day Adventists (prepared for The End of the World), 1 hard-boiled investigative journalist, 1 soft amateur detective, 2 cool policemen, 1 lamb, 1 handful of red herrings and suspects mixed together, Pinch of greed.
Throw all the ingredients into a big pot and simmer slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few years. Add the ducks, chillies and brandy towards the end and turn up the heat.”
Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew
While visiting my parents in South Africa I asked a local Xhosa lady in the village to give me a masterclass in making real South African umngqusho. It’s a South African staple among the Xhosa people – extending in its varieties to all the other Bantu tribes. It was said to be Nelson Mandela’s favourite dish. I grew up on my nanny’s umngqusho, also called ‘samp and beans’, and it’s a meal I often long for – so let’s just say it’s a recipe that warms not just the tummy, but the heart. Continue reading Umngqusho: the taste of South African winter
Joe Fox: Do you know what? We are going to seduce them. We’re going to seduce them with our square footage, and our discounts, and our deep armchairs, and… Kevin: Our cappuccinos! Joe Fox: That’s right. They’re going to hate us at the beginning, but… Kevin: … we’ll get ’em in the end. Joe Fox: Do you know why? Kevin: Why? Joe Fox: Because we’re going to sell them cheap books and legal addictive stimulants.
“We might treat a rabbit as a pet or become emotionally attached to a goose, but we had come from cities and supermarkets, where flesh was hygienically distanced from any resemblance to living creatures. A shrink-wrapped pork chop has a sanitised, abstract appearance that has nothing whatsoever to do with the warm, mucky bulk of a pig. Out here in the country there is no avoiding the direct link between death and dinner…”
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
I am a ‘wannabe’ foodie, but unsurprisingly making little effort to get the esteemed status. There, I’ve said it. Living in a city where you can go out for three meals a day for the rest of your life and never exhaust the options, some will consider my opening admission simply disgraceful. I’m sorry 😦