Not having a kitchen in our room at the guesthouse is a blessing and a curse. In a way it is nice to hot have to cook, but being reliant on restaurants or the guesthouse kitchen (their idea of a “light meal” is fish and chips) is a burden on both the wallet and the bathroom scale. Not that we have a bathroom scale. Not that we’d even comprehend our weight in kilograms.
We’ve been trying different kinds of prepared meals from Woolworths, and most of them have been pretty good, but our tiny fridge just can’t keep us stocked up all the time. So, if we aren’t fortunate enough to be out with friends at a restaurant, we rely on our new friend, Mr. Delivery.
The other night, having already had decent Chinese and bad pizza deliveries, and seeing that we were feeling adventurous, we decided to order traditional African food from a restaurant called Homebaze.
Many of the dishes on the menu were from South African cuisine, but there were several offerings from other parts of the continent, especially East and West Africa. I say this like I know what I’m talking about. We had no idea.
An hour and fifteen minutes later, we called for an update. “On the way,” they said. When the food did finally arrive, we were so hungry we dug right in. On opening the various containers, however, we found some shockers. Jenny opened one container, in particular, and the look on her face made me think, “Ohmygodtheygaveusthegoathead.”
A goat head, thankfully, it was not. Instead, staring back at us from inside the Tupperware was a steaming bowl of tripe. Uh, definitely not what we ordered. Another of the containers had giant hunks of meat in an oily, red stew. Again, not.
So, we called Mr. Delivery.
This is not what we ordered, we said.
What did you get, they asked.
We have no idea.
Well, one dish is tripe and the other is a meat stew.
Yes, baas, we put the meat in there for you.
But we did not want the meat. We ordered the vegetable soup.
We put the meat in there for you, baas.
Long story short, we decided to just not eat the meat dishes. It wasn’t worth waiting for another delivery of who-knows-what. I know I’ve said that I want to be open to new and meatier foods this year, but tripe (along with monkey brains and, probably, any form of insect) is not on the list. Sorry. We offered the meat dishes to Connie, one of the housekeepers at the guesthouse, who knows us so well by now that she asked, aghast, “They gave you tripe?”
The remaining dishes, the pap and morogo and the black eye bean stew, were actually quite tasty. The pap, by the way – for those of you who made it this far without clicking the earlier link – was like a very dense polenta. It’s completely bland, but meant to be eaten along with the main dish as a sort of meal stretcher. A starch to accompany a protein.
Those two dishes we would probably order again, should we get a hankerin’. Despite the glitches, I’m glad we ordered that food.
By the way, all this talk of food from Eastern Africa delivered to our guesthouse seems callous considering the horrible famine and food crisis currently gripping that part of the continent. The situation is particularly bad in Somalia, as parts of the lawless country are inaccessible and millions of people are seeking to cross the borders into neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
Please consider making a donation to an organization like the World Food Programme. I don’t have a job right now, but I managed to kick in $25.
After all, I’m sure we spent more on Mr. Delivery.