#57: Botswana

Good Morning, America!

What an excellently, Patriotic weekend that just passed! We had Independence Day and the US Women’s National Team won the World Cup for the first time in 16 years! It was the perfect long weekend, and thanks to Bank Holidays, we were able to extend the fun to three days instead of two. IT was the best possible outcome and I have to say, I felt like a total kid again. Thank goodness for pancakes and brunch dates, fireworks and sparklers, cold drinks and soccer matches. Shout out to Carli Llyod, who we all think should run for office.

THE DINNER: I’m gonna level with you here…  I had a moment (for the first time on this journey, actually) where I freaked out and panicked about what we might end up eating this weekend. BUGS. Bugs, guys, lots of bugs. Sure, we’ve all heard that they’re excellent protein. So many nations eat them as part of their traditional, everyday diet without flinching. I, as an American, am not that person. I flinch. Big time. So when I was pulling recipes for the week and saw that bugs and larva and worms kept making an appearance I wasn’t surprised… and then that’s the only recipes I could find. That’s when the flinching and panicking started. I’ve seen The Lion King and in my heart of hearts as a foodie, my gypsysoul wants to be that person that can throw back a slug. Thank goodness my resolve wasn’t tested.

Turns out, they are big into minced meats in Botswana. So we went this route. We made a traditional “pot roast” dish with spicy cabbage called Seswaa. This is is a traditional meat dish made of beef, goat, chicken or lamb meat. The meat is generally boiled until tender in any pot, with “just enough salt, then pounded and shredded. It is often served with pap (maize meal) or sorghum or vegetables.

Seswaa Recipe: http://foodivakitchen.blogspot.com/2010/09/seswaa-taste-of-botswana-in-my-kitchen.html?m=1

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
This one was tricky. It’s sort of a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of gig at first glance. You put the roast in. It boils. You pound and shred it and then serve it with this hot cabbage thing… and then it hits you. Gravy needs to be rendered and so much slicing and dicing needs to be done that it creeps up to a two star from half a star real quick. Sneaky, Botswana. I’m watching you. Apart from that little deception, it was simple ingredient wise and did not require a special meat market hunt– we chose beef as traditional.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner!!
As a whole, this one just fell flat for me. I can’t say that I was expecting wonders, after all, Botswana is not a culinary capital of the world by any stretch of the imagination… so I’m not sure what I wanted to get out of this. It was fair. It was good. It was all the things it should have been. It just wasn’t exciting, is the best way I can sum it up. It was, at the crux, forgettable. The seasonings were lacking on the meat portion of the Seswaa and I just always wanted something more though I was never able to say what. I did, however, clean my plate. The cabbage was spicy, which I certainly dig and seemed to be the winner of the meal. We agreed that Thyme was a very odd spice to find in the Southern Tip of Africa, but, hell, it worked well with the ginger.

Marching into week #58, it ended up being my turn to pick the country… so I went back to South American and we will be cooking the cuisine of  French Guiana! I’m always excited about “fusion” countries that have a rich history of being occupied by other nations and how that effects their culinary palate. So this shouldn’t disappoint!

Congrats to the USWNT!
– L & K

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