“…So Where is The Food?”


This week I found myself thinking about what would make the most appropriate first entry to this blog.

Peri-Peri Chef, being a blog that explores cultures through food and focusing on African food, it came naturally to me that the first entry should be about a staple consumed in my home country of Zambia; We call it Nshima, most notably Ugali in many East African Countries or Sadza and Pap in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The idea of having a complete and satisfying meal in Zambia is synonymous with eating Nshima. No matter how elaborate your dinner spread is, if Nshima has not been included on the menu, consider diner still lacking and don’t get surprised when guests ask you, “…so where is the food?”

There is a history about how Nshima came to dominate the dinner tables of many Southern and East African homes. I have read about how during the pre-colonization era, other carbohydrate sources including sorghum, millet and cassava were considered the stars at a meal. Then with the development  of the mining industry, corn meal was popularized by the settler commercial farmers among mining communities as a preferred carbohydrate source due to its commercial availability.

As a modern, young and professional woman, my menu is vast and Nshima is not a must at my dinner table, I probably cook it at most, once bi-weekly. However, when my parents come to visit or when I have guest, I make it a point to have some Nshima ready lest, I get a blank stare in my face, “…so where is the food.?”

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