Today, on the Culinary Calendar, is ‘Setsubun’ in Japan; National Bean Throwing Festival. I’m not entirely sure that bean throwing will go down well with my colleagues, or – for that matter – what bean throwing entails. Is there a target, I wonder; or are the beans just tossed about willy-nilly? I’ll have to do some research and get back to you.
Yesterday’s calendar delivered a more happy event: Jan van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, planted a vineyard back in 1655. On February 2, 1659 he made the first wine from grapes grown at the Cape. On Feb 2 1852 the first public lavatory opened in London.
Glad SA had priorities right and made wine 200 years before they worried about loos!
And, on the subject of lavatories, my stomach was frightfully cross with me last night; in the interests of research, I sampled the local street food from one of the informal vendors, whose little carts are dotted all over the city. The one I visited was owned by a lovely lady named Primrose. Primrose’s offerings yesterday were chicken feet in a tomato gravy or chicken curry, served with pap; our indigenous staple of stiff maize porridge. I opted for the curry.
This dish is not something for the faint-hearted; my head was almost blown off. The meat is boiled in a fiery concoction consisting mainly of chakalaka. I declined the pap, but perhaps this would have gone some way to diffusing the spiciness. At under R20, it was a very filling meal, but I’ve done it now and doubt I’ll do it again.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, I’m off to phone my friend, Liz Windsor, who’s having a perfectly torrid time over in London. She called in a complete state last night; says this Egypt business is making her have copious stiff gins. Says the Pope keeps emailing her saying “what’s the news, Doll?” and it’s irritating her …