A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Child’s Play: Bobotie and Other Delights

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 2, 2007

This morning I saw a headline on my Google Alert – Bahrain that made me burst out laughing:

Bobotie in Bahrain.

The article announces a South African food and wine week being put on by the Gulf Hotel – which I am sure will be a feast.

I do feel that I ought to warn Bahraini parents that this might not be a child-friendly affair – especially for expats with picky young ones.

Years ago, Fantastic Foods (whose couscous I mentioned in Fantasy Foods: Just Add Water) came out with a Bobotie package mix. My mother, as adventuresome in her food choices as in all other areas of her life, bought one – eager to bring some culinary diversity into our Midwestern diets.

Bobotie is a spicy meat pie dish that originated in Cape Malay (for one recipe, see Global Gourmet).

Whatever flavor and whatever culture it might have brought to our family table was submerged – or, more accurately – drowned out by a 10 year old rube: me.

To commemmorate the trauma of having to eat this dish, I re-worked a song, “Love is Always Better the Second Time Around”. My version honored leftovers – and disparaged bobotie.

Dinner’s always better the second time around,

except for bobotie, which we feed to the hounds.

The hounds, they hate it – it makes them fat.

They run so slowly that they can’t chase cats.

What it lacks in artistic intensity, it more than made up for in heartfelt passion.

I am sure that if I tried the dish today, I would have a much more positive (and hopefully more eloquent) reaction.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that Owlfish and Marzapane both enjoyed the dish when their mother, Umm Owlfish, made it for them a few weeks after I sang the song for them. The problem was my immature tastebuds – not the dish itself.)


Posted in Americans, Bahrain, childhood, family, food, friends, home, music, South Africa, words | 4 Comments »