This is our first experience with a traditional Xhosa funeral. And yes, it was an experience. After a two week mourning period the family makes preparation for the service. The service is generally held on a Saturday. Some of the members of the branch called me and asked if I would like to help with food preparation on Friday. I jumped at the chance. The meal that is served after the services is not only for family members, but for anyone who would like to come. When people in the location find out that there is a death, they know there will be food, and no one is turned away. Considering the poverty that they live in, you can imagine the amount of people that show up. Food preparation takes days.
We gathered in this outdoor courtyard area and peeled and chopped five gallon buckets full of potatoes, onions, and green peppers. The feeling there was very similar to a quilting bee. Our mouths moved in a rhythm that matched that of the potato peeler. It matters not where in the world you are, women do not lack for subject matter to chat about. When I am among these girls the subject of America always comes up. It is fun to say that I am from Las Vegas, Nevada. Everyone has heard of Las Vegas which opens the door for many great conversations. By the time we had finished, the girl in the middle of the above picture told me that she and her daughter were going to come to America, work in the casinos, and become millionaires.
I was not the "only" white woman there. Ruth Cockbain (in the blue) and Helen Dell (with the cane) were my buddies. I love these women so much.
Now, we must chat about the food. These women work hard. They cook on open fires in these three-legged pots. No microwaves here. In one of the pots they were boiling potatoes for the potato salad. No funeral potatoes here. The other two had meat in them. See pictures below.
The meat of choice is Tripe which this good sister speared for me out of pot #2. Now in case you are not familiar with tripe let me just tell you. Tripe is the stomach of an animal. Usually a cow or an ox. They cook it in boiling water with salt and eat. YUM!?!
And then if you are still hungry you can feast on this delicacy. Pot #3 contains Intestines! Yum, yum, double yum.
This is a traditional South African samp (mngqusho) and Beans (mbotyi). Samp is the same as hominy, except the kernels are cracked into a few pieces. They soak overnight along with the beans, season with onions and salt and pepper and "they" say it is delicious.
Roosterbrood. Pronounced Ru Wuh steer the "r" at the end is expressed. These, my friends, are worth the trip to South Africa. This bread is served at a "Braai" better known to Americans as a BBQ. The Braai is a South African tradition that has been past down from generation to generation. Roosterbrood was originally made out of necessity in the more rural communities where there was only two ways to bake bread; in a cast iron pot in a clay oven or directly over the coals on a "braai" grid.
So, if you haven't already had your fill of Tripe or Intestines, then head for the Roosterbrood. You won't be sorry.