About Zimbabwe

Everyday Food

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Let me answer food questions today

Good morning! Welcome to my first blog-post. I am quite happy to have you here, and hope you will stay for we are going to have quite a lovely adventure together over the next couple of months! Today I will be talking about food.

So what type of food do we eat here in Zimbabwe?

Well, like any other normal human beings, we have a diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins.

The most popular carbohydrates we have here are: Rice, and Sadza (This is a local dish that is made from maize meal).
The most popular proteins we have here are: Meat (Pork, Chicken, Fish, Beef) and Soya (which other people call Soy).
We get our fats from Margerine, as well as from animal fat. And as for vitamins, we get them from vegetables (Rape, Covo, Carrots, being the main sources).

So before we dive into the article here are a few words you need to know:
– The most widely used local language in Zimbabwe.
– Popcorn.
– A maize meal cake.
– This is a dish made from maize meal.
– This is usually dried fish roughly the length of a matchstick. A packet is filled with these fish and sold as 100g… up to 20Kg packets.

So where does a typical Zimbabwean buy their goods?
Well there is a wide variety of options. There are the common supermarkets (such as OK, TM – Pick & Pay, Choppies, Bon Marche, Spar, etc). Then there are wholesale outlets (such an N Richards, etc). And then there are tuck-shops. One chooses the most convenient place for them to shop.
There is this handy Zimbabwean site – www.zimpricecheck.com
which allows you to compare prices of common groceries from OK, TM and Choppies. You could give it a try and see if you are interested in what it has for you.

To get recipes, one can access the internet – but that’s a rather expensive option nowadays. From what I’ve seen most people get their recipes from: Whatsapp Cooking groups in which members share recipes, from their colleagues & workmates, from television, from their family (moms and Grandmas usually do a good job teaching their younger brethren), and from books.
What is the typical meal for a Zimbabwean like?

Cereals (Cornflakes, Oats, or a very fine porridge-like cereal – which most Zimbabweans refer to as “Cerevita”)
If cereals aren’t served, then it is probably porridge that comes first.
Bread - This is white, brown or whole-wheat. A common substitute for this is having a “Chimodho” instead.
Spread – This is usually Jam/Peanut Butter/Marmalade/Left over soup.

This is usually a light meal. This can be:
Bread and drink.
Cupcakes and drink.
Sweet potatoes and tea.
Cassava and tea.
Noodles and a bit of soup.
Rice/Sadza/Pasta and meat (Usually Chicken, Beef, Fish, Kapenta, Mince, or Pork).

This is a heavy meal, usually: Rice/Sadza/Pasta and meat (Usually Chicken, Beef, Mince, or Pork).

This can be:
Or a combination of the above : )

A typical family has two parents and a minimum of two kids (i.e. 2 adults and a minimum of two dependents). The meals are mainly made to serve 4, and emphasis is on making sure the kids/dependents have enough food to eat and carry to school.

Students are generally on a tight-budget so the food they look for is usually the cheapest and most-filling. This means if an average student, is given the choice to choose between two meals, say, Rice & Beans and a packet of chips, with both being equally priced, they would choose to have the former because they will be able to spend the greater part of the day feeling rather full.
Popular meals are: Rice & Beans, Rice & Chicken, French Fries & T-bone steak or Chicken + a cool beverage, Buns & a beverage, Bread & a beverage, “Chimodho” & a beverage, Sweet-potatoes & a beverage.
Popular snacks are: Maputi & Peanuts, Plain Maputi, Burgers & French Fries + a cool beverage, Hotdogs + a cool beverage, Freezits and Chips, Pies, Biscuits, Peanuts, Fruits – Bananas, Avocados.

These have more money than students (obviously). I have noticed that workers appear to be divided into two groups. The first is the group of workers with a family, and the second is the single workers. Single workers tend to buy fast food, and food that is more expensive than that bought by workers who have families. From my experience those with families buy food which is more expensive than that bought by students but cheaper than that bought by single workers. At work those with families usually bring packed food for lunch, whilst single workers rush to the fast food outlets.
Popular meals for group 1– Worker + Family: Rice & Beans, Rice & Chicken, Buns & a beverage, Bread & a beverage, Chimodho & a beverage, Sweet-potatoes & a beverage.
Popular meals for group 2– Worker + Single: Rice & Beans, Rice & Chicken + a cool beverage, French Fries & T-bone steak or Chicken + a cool beverage.
It is rather important to note that the meals that people have vary, with the main factors being: what type of food the family can afford to buy, the other being the religion of the family, and finally, the diet prescribed to the person by his/her doctor (assuming that the person has some condition).

So which groceries are bought by a typical Zimbabwean family in a month?

Absolute Basics:
10 Kg Mealie Meal – for cooking Sadza, and for making a maize meal cake that we call a “Chimodho”
10 Kg Rice – for lunch/supper.
6 Kg Sugar (Usually brown sugar) – for tea, baking cakes, baking a Chimodho, and anything else a normal person would use sugar for.
50 Tea bags – for having tea.
Milk (powdered/fresh) – for baking, adding to your cereal and having tea.
Milk (sour) – for eating with Sadza.
250g Margarine – spread for bread or for baking.
2 Kg Pasta – for lunch/supper.
2 Lt Cooking Oil – for cooking.
~ Salt – a 1Kg packet can last anything from six months to slightly more than a year – depending on how many members of the family….and neighbours you have).
3 x 50g packets of Soup – for making soup.
4 Lt Drink – for pleasuring your taste buds.
5 Kg Flour – for baking.
100g Baking Powder – for baking. I found a rather strange use for it – removing dandruff. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but hey – it works pretty well for me!
At least 4 x 500g boxes Cerivita / Cornflakes (But this is not really affordably for most families. Porridge rules!).

Which food gifts to bring to your relative’s homes in Zimbabwe?

Have a look at the list above. It must give a rough idea of what to get for them. Just try to get a rough idea of what they like and buy what you can. Other things you can bring as gifts are: a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, a few loaves of bread + a few Kgs of meat that they like.
And that is where today’s story ends. Come back next week and we will talk more!

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