I’m all for globalisation, the mixing of cultures, the idea of the city as ‘melting pot’. After all, who wants to eat fish and chips every day? Or meat and two veg?
But sometimes globalisation gives me the shits.
Shopping in Woolworths last weekend. Grand final weekend. I’m picking up something to take to the barbecue.
As if it’s bred into my genes, my old South African eyes lock in on a coil of sausage behind clingwrap.
“Boerewors” it says. No, it proclaims proudly!
“Yes please!” (I chant to myself).
Anyone who has spent anytime in South Africa, will know that you can’t have a barbecue (or ‘braai‘) in the homeland without this humble sausage sizzling away alongside a few giant steaks, chicken kebabs, pap and Castle Lager.
For Australian natives, think this combination: football, beer and meat pie.
The word ‘boerewors’ is Afrikaans, the language spoken by Afrikaners (the descendents of the original Dutch settlers to the Cape in 1652) famous for lots of great things (rugby, Francois Pienaar, Charlize Theron, Ernie Else, the first heart transplant) and some not so “lekker” things (apartheid, Oscar Pistorius, PW Botha).
But the boerewors is certainly one of their finest inventions and one that all South Africans, black, white, expat, coloured, indian have incorporated into their cultures and exported to far flung places. It’s uniquely South African, as the Lamington is to Australia and pavlova is to New Zealand.
The word actually translates as: boere (farmer’s) wors (sausage), which now that I think about it throws up some rather silly jokes and images I’ve not thought of up until now.
But, no, no, no and no! The boerewors is sacred. It is delectable a mix of delicious fatty meats and spices. It’s heaven in a sausage.
But, back to the boerewors on the shelf at Woolies and my temporary annoyance with globalisation.
Just look at the packaging! Made by the British Sausage Company. But even worse: Uniquely Australian!
Not a mention of South Africa or farmers or apartheid. Not a boer insight.
I shake my fists in the supermarket. I consider stealing all the boerewors packets on the shelf, justified in my mind by the lack of respect that has been shown.
But, I calm down. Gather myself. And think about boerewors.
My stomach and taste buds win in the end. I buy the damn thing, take it to the barbeque, cook it, eat it and…
It’s simply sensational. At least those boerewors-loving Brits/Aussies got the recipe right.
I eat almost the entire coil and with heaving gut, think to myself: if it wasn’t for this bloody globalisation, I’d never get to eat the damn thing in the first place.
Throw another boerewors on the barbie, Shane!
(Turns out the ‘British Sausage Company’ is a butchery in Perth, no doubt of South African heritage).