Book tells Mandela’s story through his favorite recipes
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A new book examining Nelson Mandela’s life was launched Saturday with a feast that included everything from the spaghetti casserole he was brought in jail to the soured milk he longed for while living underground.
What he ate, where he ate it and those who prepared it serve as the basis for “Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela.”
Although Mandela was absent Saturday, many of those who first prepared the dishes, including former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were on hand for the banquet organized by his daughter Zindzi. The event was part of the national celebrations for Mandela’s 90th birthday later this month.
Rural women were flown in to prepare dishes from Mandela’s native southeastern region of South Africa and lamb-on-the-spit was grilled to the exacting standards of George Bizos, the Greek-South African lawyer celebrated for defending anti-apartheid leaders.
Readers curious about the fare can use “Hunger for Freedom” as a cookbook – complete with instructions involving an ax and a pig’s head for one stew. Few cookbooks, though, come with such extensive personal stories.
The book’s author, Pretoria-based anthropologist and chef Anna Trapido, calls it a “gastro-political biography,” weaving in the stories of the men and women who struggled for freedom alongside Mandela.
“You can always understand the society that produced the food by looking at the food,” said Trapido.
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