What’s in a name? Sometimes, a lot. My parents named me after Mother Teresa. It symbolized their value of service to others. Zimbabwe, a land of natural beauty, is a name that literally translates “large house of stone.”
While you might be imagining magnificent cliffs veiled by the Victoria Falls, “large house of stone” is actually referencing a man-made structure: A stone kingdom, built almost 1,000 years ago, that was once a center for trade. The thriving city of Great Zimbabwe, rich with culture, was bustling from the 11th to 15th century, and an estimated 18,000 people inhabited the area. The ancient city is celebrated and recognized because the craftsmanship of the Ruins are still monumental and unique; the architects ingeniously incorporated the land’s large, natural boulders into the walls of the city.
After learning this tidbit, I tucked it away in the mental folder I like to call, “Historical Perspectives: Why didn’t I know this before?”
Sadza isn’t actually new to this project. Sadza is porridge, a common dish in African countries. Filling, simple (cornmeal, add water, stir), and inexpensive, porridge isn’t our favorite dish. But if you have some good side dishes – as we did – to scoop up with the porridge, it is satisfying.
Accompanying the Sadza was two Zimbabwe dishes I found online: chicken cooked in a peanut butter sauce, and a vegetable relish. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original recipe I used, but I did find some alternatives recipes that are close. Check out the link for this recipe and others in the “Recipe Links” tab.
My voice of wisdom wants to mention two things before you make this: Be mindful of how much porridge you make, and how much do you like peanut butter in your entrée? If the later is giving you any hesitation, try cutting the PB amount in half.
Here is another reminder to go on YouTube or Spotify or your music streaming machine of choice and listen to authentic music. I found several albums of Zimbabwe music on Spotify, and listened to it during the whole cooking process. There really is something in listening to the music, how it mentally engages you in a way the food cannot. It creates the atmosphere, engaging more of your senses into this cultural experience. Smell, taste, see, hear, and even touch as you handle the food and make it an event!
Completed with the other side dishes, Sadza was memorable, delicious, and new!
Spencer: “I enjoyed this! Still don’t like porridge.”
Teresa: “Really delicious! The side dishes made Sadza a complete, flavorful meal.”
- The capital of Zimbabwe is Harare
- The official languages are English, Shona, Ndebele, Tswana, Xhosa, Chewa, Venda, Tsonga, Tonga
- This is an insightful NatGeo article about Zimbabwe – its people, history, politics, and the artists who have become activists amidst oppression and censorship
- After economic instability and political turmoil, one quarter of the population fled the country by 2007 – that’s about 3.4 million refugees to neighboring countries
- There are many cultures within Zimbabwe, the largest ethic group being the Shona
- Large celebrations, like weddings, are celebrated by the killing and roasting of a goat or cow, which is prepared by the family