As you have surely heard by now, Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95 after a long illness. The great humanitarian was a multifaceted man, and often spoke of food in both the literal and metaphorical sense. Speaking of one of his favorite dishes, amasi (traditional South African fermented milk), Mandela wrote to his wife Winnie from prison:
“How I long for amasi , thick and sour! You know darling there is one respect in which I dwarf all my contemporaries or at least about which I can confidently claim to be second to none – healthy appetite.”
His personal chef since 1992, Xoliswa Ndoyiya, published a cookbook, “Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen,” filled with his favorite recipes. “Ukutya Kwasekhaya” means home “home cooking” in Xhosa, Nelson Mandela’s first language, and the recipes in the book exemplify the hearty and delicious home cooking of South Africa: sweet chicken, umphokoqo (corn porridge), and umsila wenkomo (oxtail-stew).
However, this isn’t the only book about Nelson Mandela and food. Anna Trapido’s book “Hunger For Freedom” weaves stories about food into Mandela’s biography. Trapido’s book includes recipes by other chefs that were among Mandela’s favorites, including stuffed crabs and chicken curry. I think we will try some recipes in tribute.