A TOUR OF OUR FAVOURITE SNACKS
One of the best parts about creating JAN the Journal Volume 6 was going on a real, don’t-make-‘em-like-they-used-to, authentically South African road trip that took us from Cape Town, through the Karoo, all the way to Tswalu Kalahari. And since this wasn’t going to be one of those N1, we’ll-get-takeout-at-the-next-garage sort of trips (about half of the roads were untarred), we did it the old-fashioned way. That is, with lots of padkos (remember padkos?) and plenty of snacks.
If you haven’t got yourself a copy of JAN the Journal Volume 6 yet, there’s a whole collection of nostalgic roadside recipes in this beautiful book. But if there’s one recipe that stands out as that all-rounder, take-it-everywhere-you-go hit, it’s the Marmite Buttermilk Rusks on page 32. Think of them as Marmite on toast, but without the need for a portable toaster (if there is such a thing) or knife (for spreading this yeasty extract). Add a cup of thermos coffee and you’ve got yourself the perfect roadside breakfast. There’ll be plenty of time for frying eggs on the bonnet later.
Let’s face it, no matter how well stocked your cooler box, it’s hard to resist a padstal, which often results in mixed emotions when we discover a stray skaappasteitjie (lamb pastry) under the driver’s seat three days later. But don’t judge yourself too harshly. Stopping to sample some local delights en route to the Kalahari, we (re)discovered some truly delectable delights, which included skuinskoek (mosbolletjie dough deep-fried like a vetkoek), homemade ginger beer, and boerbeskuit (made with a potato starter and kneaded with fat from a lamb’s tail). A non-edible miracle bar worth mentioning here is Boerseep (farmer’s soap), which gets rid of even the most persistent roadside mishaps (mostly stain-related).
These days, if you favour a bit of roughage on the road (we’ll skip over the details), you’re also spoilt for choice with an assortment of dried fruits and nuts, which include the rehydrated variety, as well as circular incarnations resembling a wheel of camembert, but made of fruit pieces, honey and cinnamon.
BILTONG AND DROËWORS
The further north you travel, the meatier the snacks become – as in, carnivorous, not necessarily larger in portion size. Indeed, a visit to Upington Slaghuis would give you a new appreciation for the diversity of meat in all its cured splendour. There’s blare biltong (biltong leaves), which offer a lighter alternative to biltong chunks, but which may result in the loss of a tooth, bacon biltong (because, you know, English breakfast on the go?), and even skinless droëwors, an elegant alternative to the chunkier, skin-on variety known and widely adored by the name, droëwors.
A FEW FINAL WORDS
It’s a long and dusty road to the Kalahari, unadorned with those luxuries to which we city dwellers have grown accustomed. But that’s the fun of it all! Forget about nutritional info labels and trendy branding for a moment and just enjoy it!