Ostrich Sausage at the 'Bring and Braai'

Trip Start May 25, 2005
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Flag of South Africa  ,
Sunday, June 5, 2005

Feather Fest! Run for your Life!

Yes, today was the day that all feathered creatures in Brooklyn had been waiting for. Today was the day they would be doused in 'Monkey Gland Sauce' and grilled over hot coals to be enjoyed by the masses.

There was definitely a sense of anticipation as we arrived at the huge sports ground attached to the school. Kids were running around in fancy dress, adults were carrying pots and pans, crates of beer, picnic hampers, chairs, blankets, radios (for the sports results), wood, coals, and of course the Braai.

It is a well known fact that South African's love their meat, and that there is no better way to cook that meat than over a bid hot coal fire, outside, with lots of other people. It is therefore no surprise that the regular school fate is a little less 'formal' than the average UK event.

The day lines up as follows:

1. Three day's worth of food is packed into the car, as numerous hungry relatives will be meeting you at the ground. All the other bits and bobs are loaded onto the trailer and taken ahead of the family to be unloaded and a good space grabbed on the field.

2. The relatives arrive early and in the wrong place, and so the scramble begins. Children are loaded into the car, dogs who are trying to come along are repeatedly thrown out of the car. Children are then re-loaded into the car. And we're off!

3. As soon as we arrive at the ground the kids disappear to go and play on the rides, climb the climbing wall, eat food from the vans and help build the huge 20 foot fires that will be lit once the sun goes down. They do return to load up on more sugar after the first couple of hours. Grandparents laugh, probably remembering with relief that they no longer have the worries of a parent trying to keep this intake under control.

4. All hands on deck. The smaller fires are lit and the bit 1m diameter pots go on for the chuck-it-in stew that everyone contributes to, and that everyone will nosh on in about six hours time. Chairs are laid out, flower arrangements deck the tables and then someone cracks open the first beer.

After all this flurry, the braai begins. I have never seen so much food. Sausages of every variety go on the grill to much spitting protest from the coals beneath, Ostrich, Crocodile, Kudu, Antelope - you name it, the meat is there. The smell of sausage wafts through the air from all around and it smells so good. The 'wurst' is curled up into a spiral of goodness measuring at least three feet in length, the fat drips out, fuelling the fire and the outside crisps up making it tempting finger food. Ouch - that's hot!

In the meantime there's plenty of the feathered creatures to pick on, with pate, paste, meat slices, sausage rolls. There will be no on going hungry tonight. And just as you thought you belly could take no more, then the traditional cardiac-inducing desserts are passed around. Deep syrup sponges with custard, and a deep-fried doughnut curl that oozes with oil at every bite. My belly has gone; no more, no more. Don't you know it's midnight already?

Well, it was great fun and a real insight into Afrikaans life. The big fires on stilts were well designed to keep the light and heat as we continued into the early hours. The country music coming from the stage kept everyone singing and dancing along. The men never looked happier than when prowling the braai, picking off bits of the lamb on a spit, testing to see if it was done. The women looked lovely in their fancy clothes, chatting in Afrikaans about husbands and lives (I guess). And the kids, well they were nowhere to be seen, having a blast on their sugar high.

Then boom, as 2am hit, so did my heart. It had all been a little too much. A different culture, a different language, a different way of having fun. My brain was done, my processing time had reached it's limit. So I sat down with a blanket and just watched as the fires blended through my sleepy eyes with the twinkling stars above.

A 'Bring and Braai' - what a good way to eat.
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