There are some food-related questions that are always really easy to answer – things like “wine or beer?” (wine); “plain or salted?” (salted); with or “without whipped cream?” (with!); or “chocolate or vanilla?” (chocolate, always chocolate!). But then there are a couple of foodie questions that I am regularly asked that make my throat close up and my palms become sweaty. Questions for which people somehow expect me to have a ready, rehearsed answer. Questions that make everyone in the room turn to me expectantly, awaiting an answer upon which I suspect my credibility as a food blogger depends.
Well, the English have their chicken tikka masala; the Italians their pizza; the French their escargots; and the Americans their apple pie. Each nationality seems to have one meal that they embrace 100% and make their own, build legends around, and present to the world as their culinary shorthand. And South Africans? We have the braai
A few years after I had stopped lecturing, I bumped into an ex student of mine. We chatted for a while about what we were up to these days before he told me that I was one of the best lecturers he had ever had. But as my chest swelled with pride, he instantly burst my bubble by saying that the one thing he will never forget about my classes was not understanding how human rights work; or how to form a contract – but “the joke about the pear”.
I was not in the slightest bit offended when I discovered that we would be dining at Bastard in Malmö on our recent visit but it did cross my mind that no PR person had probably OK’d this peculiar choice of moniker.