On Monday (6/10/13) we had our very first authentic South African dinner catered by Stephan and his staff. It was absolutely delightful! South Africans usually have a typical dish called Samp & Beans. We enjoyed this with some curried chicken, home baked bread, rice, and homemade soup. I was surprised on how much curry is used in South African food and how everyone has their own way of making Samp & Beans. One way of making it is to combine black-eyed peas and pinto beans with onion, potatoes, tomato, and curry powder where the texture becomes somewhat like a potato salad. Although the food was great, South Africa is currently on an upward trend of obesity.
On Tuesday (6/11/13), we were able to speak with a couple of dieticians at Merchison Hospital to learn more about the common South African diet. They stated that hypertension and stroke is a rising concern due to a knowledge deficit about healthy eating. When meals are being prepared, sunflower oil is used with greater proportions of carbohydrates being typical. One of the dieticians even stated that animal drippings are sometimes used in lieu of any type of vegetable oil because it is much more palatable. There also was a portion control plate that was kept in the office to educate patients on what a healthy plate would look like. Unfortunately, it is not often utilized because each province has their own staple ingredient and vegetables are only used during special occasions or for garnish.