Sadza is the key to knowing whether your son is marrying the right woman.How she makes the staple food, served in different guises for breakfast, lunch and dinner, makes or breaks her. So "girls in ZImbabwe are born making sadza", explains Dorcas Shumba to the crowd watching her prepare it on Saturday in the Migrating Kitchen Exhibition in Palmerston North. Sadza is a mealie meal pounded, ground from maize and then cooked with the special wooden sadza spoon - an extra long thick handle for the all important stirring.
The growing crowd watching had to 'sing' for their food - learning that before you eat you say 'Pamusoroi' to the cook and to guests - and to wash their hands in the traditional way. No forks present, a few teaspoons for those who found manipulating the cooked sadza into balls before dipping into the meat relish too hard. Finishing a meal, the correct way was to thank the chef - with the formal "mazvita" plus the chef's totem (President Mugabe's is a crocodile) or the informal "tatenda".
Zimbabwean cooking yesterday - Check out more photos on Facebook
Food was not the only item on the afternoon's menu - talk of languages, tribal affiliations, changes in politics, the role of women in traditional society, how to give the 'ulele' call and even a spontaneous lively African dance from the 3 women chefs. The audience showed their appreciation by coming back for several 'seconds' of food sauces, some even scraping remains from the cooking pots long after it was cold. As in most of the Saturday community events, the chefs shared their poignant stories of leaving home and coming to live in New Zealand, prompting many audience members to chat long after the formal part of the afternoon programme ended.
The ZImbabwean focus continues this week with music, talks and a film screening. Dorcas, Tracy and Joan will also be in the exhibitions from time to time to answer any questions or just talk of home to anyone who wants to listen.
A sneak peek into some of Zimbabwe’s finest
2012 Exhibition >