The pleasant goat dish pictured is aptly or (in poor taste) named, “Smiley.” It is a traditional Herero dish that we were offered during orientation in Windhoek. Did I try it? I’ll let you guess. Would you try it? Have you tried it?
Alright, I’ll give in, I didn’t partake in the goat (but there were more than enough eager eaters to not have the dish go to waste.) Seeing as though “Smiley” is out and my special peanut butter and jelly sandwich recipe wore out its excitement after about two days, it was only a matter of time before I started experimenting with cookbook recipes.
I received a WorldTeach Namibia cookbook at orientation and there was a Peace Corps Namibia cookbook at my house. The recipes in the books do not necessarily highlight special foods of the region; rather, the country-specific cookbooks seem to include dishes made from ingredients that are readily available in the local cities, towns, and villages. The books also offer substitutes for ingredients or ways to prepare ingredients from scratch, if the items (such as tortillas) are not readily found in markets. Over the past week, I’ve prepared familiar foods using the books, such as mashed potatoes, pancakes, and rice and beans. I’ve also almost set my shirt on fire, striking matches in attempts to light our burners; but, I’m getting better at it.
Though not always goat, Namibia is a meat-eating nation - kudu, goat, beef, even donkey are all cookable and eatable, depending on where you are in the country. Biltong is a spiced, dried meat, much like beef jerky. It comes in a variety of flavors and (textures) and a number of different kinds of meats are used. I was hesitant to try it at first, but now, I consider it a great snack. I just haven’t figured out how to choose the type that won’t eventually break my teeth from being so tough.
Also, I’ve been to KFC three times!!! The first time was in Oshakati (up North) and I was floating from the taste for about three hours after eating it. I was also amused to hear Jodeci and Lauryn Hill playing through the speakers. I guess they send the secret ingredients and the special soundtracks when opening new stores.
Oh, and here is a recipe from the PC Namibia cookbook that I have yet to try, because I can’t seem to gather the requisite ingredients and utensils (even from Windhoek).
First shoot an elephant. This will yield about 3,500 – 4,000 lbs of fine meat. Add 100 lbs. of salf. Sprinkle with pepper (enough to make an elephant sneeze). Assemble 10,000 gallons of water, 1 truckload of mixed veggies, and two rabbits for seasoning. Now cut elephant into small pieces (this takes about two months). Boil in covered swimming pool for 2 weeks. Add veggies and rabbit. But, remember that not everyone likes hare in their stew. Simmer at 480 degrees F for 3 days. Serves about 7,350 people.