November 28, 2009

THERE HAVE TO BE BETTER WAYS TO ACQUIRE A TRADITIONAL BUILD:

Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook: The No.1 book for African delicacies (Judy Vickers, 11/28/09, The Scotsman)

Having never written a book, [Stuart Brown] had no thought of doing it himself – instead he wrote to McCall Smith, suggesting the idea.

"I was surprised when he wrote back saying: 'This is a good idea, why don't you do it?'" he says.

Research included spending time in Botswana this summer, eating with and learning from villagers, including sampling some of the more exotic dishes.

"I haven't tried the termites but I have tried the worms on several occasions. They are not unpleasant, they don't have much flavour on their own – they are added to stews as they are very high in protein," Stuart explains.

Mopane worms are actually caterpillars from the Mopane emperor moth, which live on the leaves of the Mopane tree.

"They are extremely popular in Botswana. Each nation has its peculiar dish which other countries don't understand," says Stuart.

While he admits the worms aren't available at your local Asda, he insists many of the recipes can be recreated back here

"It does take a bit of searching to find the ingredients but it is possible to find most of them," he says. There are always substitutes – venison for springbok or antelope, for instance – and many of the ingredients are as much staples of the Scottish diet as the African. No cook over here would have trouble rustling up some lemon and condensed milk biscuits, while Botswana beef is highly prized. "Their beef is outstanding and has an international reputation," says Stuart.

Good, wholesome food is what you'd expect from the home country of Mma Ramotswe, a woman who prides herself on her "traditional" build – and Stuart admits it's not a book for dieters. "People are comfortable in their own skins. A larger size is a sign of prosperity and wellbeing in Botswana – and the men prefer women with larger bottoms," he laughs.



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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2009 7:49 AM
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