Potjiekos: Shanghai Style!

The world has changed so rapidly. The Millennials, born in the crest of the wave of change, are keeping up by insanely texting and engulfing tons of data daily. And we – the Baby-boomers and the Generation X? We join “last-century-nostalgia-pages” on Facebook and listen to the music from the ‘80s.

When we were born, television just started entering our world, with dithering images in black and white, ushering the era of entertainment. The “Latchkey Kids” (those born in the ‘60s whose both parents were working) were the first generation to spend hours in front of the TV.

In the early ‘90s, just as my son was born, VCR’s were making their way into the households, after sorting out the VHS versus Beta. And now, we watch Game of Thrones on HDTVs, PVRs, TiVo’s and Blue rays, on Catch-up or Express from the US.

My generation is so blessed for seeing both worlds and so lost, as we don’t know what we should embrace and what to throw away … So much choice… So much progress…

When I was a child, we were all growing up in small towns, our parents just left their farms and villages. We were eating “traditional food”, whatever it was traditional for that particular area. My grandmother never left her village for more than an afternoon and I grew up 700 km away from her. My son grew up 10 000 km away... But her recipes, and the recipes of all my family’s grandmothers, followed me across the state and across the continents and I still share them today with my family and friends.

Our business took us to all corners of the world – from Scandinavia to Australia, from Middle East to the Orient, from South America’s pampas to the African savannas. With decades of exposure to a true multicultural diversity, our cuisine became more multicultural and the diversity became the taste of the day. We developed taste for Mexican guacamole, Chinese dumplings, Korean barbeque and Argentinian beef… We equally took to heart the hearty lunch and the cholesterol-free cuisine.

Just the other day, I was making Shanghai-style braised pork belly (Hong Shao Rou 红烧肉). My South African friend commented, while the pork was still boiling: “Ah, you are making poitjekos! Good choice!” Poitjekos literally means “small pot of food”, made from a little bit of everything. Two hours later, the braised pork looked nothing like the traditional South African dish or like anything from my grandmothers’ recipes. Now, I refer to this dish “Potjiekos Shanghai Style”, in honour of all our international friends.

May we all live long and prosper and find comfort in this chaos and embrace the multicultural diversity of this era, which parted us, and connected us, in so many unanticipated ways.

Contact us if you need experienced consultants for any advice and be sure to let us know about your cultural foods!

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