You know us South Africans, we love our gravy… You can roast and grill your meat and your veggies but we’ll tell you one thing…we want gravy. I just want to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I’ve compiled three different scenarios from my personal experiences and from those around me….
First scenario: It was my brother’s initiation celebration and my aunts together with the women from the community cooked up a storm. Hips of plates were dished up with “enough” meat for everyone. The “hipped plates” kept on coming back to the kitchen for more gravy. The one initially added was apparently not enough.
Second scenario: You know the saying, “A way to a man’s heart is through the stomach,” right? A friend of mine decided to cook in order to impress a particular person. Rice, roasted meat and some salads were on the menu. The guy asked for gravy as soon as he started eating.
Third scenario: I was watching a food vendor dish up food for his clients. The meat was cooked in big black cast iron pots. His customers kept on urging him to add more gravy on top of the pap and meat.
I bet you too can relate or rather recall an incident where people asked for gravy or more of it.
Firstly, let me explain what I mean by gravy. We refer to gravy as the broth from cooked meat. In isiXhosa, we call it “Umhluzi”. Back in the day, fewer cooking methods were used: boiling, pot roasting, braaing, boiling and boiling. Yup, I repeated boiling three times because it was the most popular form of cooking. Boiling of meat means there’ll be a lot of gravy. My 10 year old nephew loves it….he loves dunking his bread or pap into the gravy. My mom will tell you “umfakele igravy ibeninzi uyayithanda” (add extra gravy for him for he loves it). If there’s no gravy in his plate he’ll go scrape off whatever is left in the pots.
Personally, having chakalaka, a smoer or some other relish on my plate depletes the desire for gravy. Even nicely done veggies make up for the absence of gravy. I was chatting with a Zulu lady from Umlazi, she told me that she loves gravy and she wants to dunk. She calls it, “ukucobhoza,” lol!
In reality, what is it about gravy? Am I the only one thinking people love it too much?