Ancestral wisdom finds a home in modern cooking

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Read full article by Nikita Singh @Daily Maverick Photo: Craig Fraser

Eat-Ting with Modern Traditions is the first culinary workshop to introduce indigenous African ingredients as a healthy, sustainable breakfast option. The workshop draws on international food trends like ancient grains, fermenting, and foraging, and connects them to the South African landscape.

“There are no other culinary lessons for African ingredients,” says workshop co-host Tracy Nelwamondo, an indigenous food activist, medical doctor, and founder of the Modern Traditions brand which celebrates heritage ingredients.

The workshop is run by Nelwamondo and registered dietician and author Mpho Tshukudu. Her book Eat Ting (co-written with food anthropologist and writer Anna Trapido) addresses modern medical conditions and the effects of the food we consume. “It’s about realising that 80 to 90% of the medical conditions in the world are lifestyle-related. I wanted to find a way to incorporate ancient tastes into modern lives,” says Tshukudu.

Together Nelwamondo and Tshukudu aim to educate consumers on the health benefits of traditional indigenous foods, and how to incorporate them into modern lifestyles and eating patterns. 

The cooking classes provide guests with hands-on experience in choosing and preparing indigenous ingredients, and identify the best cooking methods to extract their nutritional value. After a full day of cooking, guests will learn how to ferment, bake, sauté, blanch, and preserve.

“We need to integrate these ingredients in a way that makes sense in the 21st century,” says Nelwamondo. She discovered that clients often buy grains like sorghum and millet but don’t understand how to prepare or cook them. The classes were developed to showcase the simple, practical applications of ancient African ingredients.

The culinary masterclass starts with Africa’s ancient grain, mabele, or sorghum.

In Eat Ting, Tshukudu explains, “Sorghum is an ancient, African, relatively drought-resistant cereal grain. Sorghum can be used as a whole grain, ground into fine or coarse meal and also fermented into sour porridges, beers, and syrups. Unfermented, it has a gentle, slightly sweet taste. Soured sorghum has a satisfying yet subtle tang.”


Posted on

November 14, 2019

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