It would seem that I will never reach the bottom of my goodie bag from #FBI2011. Casting about for ideas for a hearty meal (our weather has suddenly turned very cold) I came across one of the books which was included in the bag. It is Bon appétit, MR PRESIDENT! by Hilton Little, chef to the presidents of South Africa. The book is beautifully presented, but stays true to the humble African cuisine favoured by past presidents, with specific reference to former presidents Mandela and Mbeki.
From page 41:
Samp and beans (Xhosa: Umngqusho) is almost always on the menu wherever the President might be – and it is a big favourite of both Heads of State that Hilton has served. When introducing new dishes, he watches with interest when the plates are returned to the kitchen. Those that have been enjoyed are of course gratifyingly empty. Samp and beans needed no approval test.
I’d just finished editing a chapter in a book, the subject dealt with what lies at the core of African culture, and was mulling over the concept of ubuntu; that wonderful philosophy of being open and available to others, “I am what I am because of who we all are“.
I had two hours to think about this; that’s how long it took me to cook the samp and beans and get a brisket stew simmering. As I dished the supper bowls, Lesotho-born Alice said, You made it just like my mother.
Just like an 80 year old Sotho lady?
I’m really quite proud of that.
Now, if our current president would stop his polygyny and concentrate on government instead, we just may end up with the greatest country in the world.
For an interview with Hilton Little, click here.