Let me introduce you....
This is one of the purest protein snacks around, one you may come to love. There are foods that you eat for pleasure, other foods you consume for their healthful properties and some that you just know you 'should' eat. But what happens when you move to another continent and need to change your eating habits and snacks??
In the past 20 years the health food craze has exploded into non-food supplements, powder meal replacements and other non-tasty concoctions. These may be helpful and may make you feel like you're being healthy but healthy food IMHO should be actual food. Whether it be raw, smoked, dried or in other formats. There are more vegetarians and vegans today than ever before and studies have shown that lowering your red meat intake is good for your body. But carnivores can also choose healthier options in their more pure form too.
Foodies relish in the planning and preparing of exquisite recipes. The cutting, chopping, boiling, roasting, sautéing and the art of getting everything finished at the same time are impressive. So many cooking shows, channels, celebrities have brought all kinds of food prep to the masses. But for some of us who are not into the hoopla can also enjoy healthy, delicious food in a simpler way; finding the simplest recipes with fewer ingredients and get it on the table in less than an hour!
Bosisi Designs is rooted in South Africa and exploring the culture, fashion, music and of course FOOD of this distant country. South African food is not really one style or one flavor profile. It's a mix of colonial influences, nine South African tribes' influences and regional climates that come together to make up the country's cuisine . There is very arid land but South Africa can also get quite a bit of rain during certain seasons. The French brought grapevines and developed a beautiful wine culture. The Dutch brought sweets and comfort food. The South African tribes diet is mostly meat-based. The foodie scene is strong and growing there and it may take some time for a visitor to explore the many offerings around the country.
Believe it or not, only the Americans have an extremely developed snack food category. When you leave the US you find that the snacking is .... different. It's not better, or worse, just different. The snacks in South Africa (and food in general) do not have nearly the sodium content than what we are used to in America. A welcome surprise to an American in this foreign land. The fruit is super duper fresh and if you don't consume it within 1-3 days it will go bad. They don't believe in preservatives or altering the DNA of the fruit to extend its shelf life, and fridge life too, for that matter!
Another notable observation is that there are not ten thousand varieties of each food type to choose from. If you want cereal there's Wheetabix, some form of Cheerios and maybe cornflakes. That's it. Pick one and off you go. If you want tomato sauce - you get (you guessed it!) tomato sauce. Not a choice of diced, crushed, whole, with basil and garlic, in a jar, in a can or the other million choices. You get tomato puree or maybe a crushed version, then it's up to you to make it what you want it to be in the end. Rather refreshing and much less overwhelming for shoppers. Too much choice. Too much nuance for not a hugely distinguishing payoff. At the end of the day we just want spaghetti with meatballs in a red sauce. Keep it simple, people!
You might fall in love with a South African pure protein snack that is healthy, filling and easy to snack on: Biltong. The name comes from the Dutch translation: 'bil' (meat) 'tong' (stick). The true format is sliced. The closest comparison is beef jerky but it's nothing like the overly salty, less healthy version you have in your mind right now. "EW!" I hear you say. "I wouldn't touch jerky if my life depended on it." Agreed. When I eat American beef jerky I feel like I'm eating some flavored chemical stick, not pure, dried beef. But Biltong is different.
Historically, Africa nations did not have access to electricity. The weather can be extremely hot and dry for most of the year. With a heavy meat culture, South Africa has perfected dried beef that is both delicious, fresh, flavorful and healthy.
These days there are healthier dried beef (jerky) in our American supermarkets and is a nice and tasty, lower sodium content product. But expensive as all get out! Why is healthy food more expensive? Why are fewer ingredients and less processing more costly to produce and deliver? I don't know. I don't need to know. I just want good quality, healthy food that is reasonably priced and tastes good.
It's not for everyone, I completely understand. But it is worth a try. You may just find a snack you love and another healthy choice for you and your family. Let's try to get back to basics and expand our healthy food journey. Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to try new and healthy real foods. Either you'll love it or you'll write a blog about it🙂
Eat well, my friends!
Photo credit: https://www.boerandbutcher.co.za/the-basic-biltong-recipe/