When the ANC feeds you with nothing but policy

2012-06-29 08:01

It wasn’t so much that the ANC had forgotten about us as that they had forgotten to feed us.

There we were, sitting around until midnight last night, being fed briefing after briefing on policy matters,
and all that we had to sustain us was chicory-ish coffee powder, rooibos and tea bags, milk and sugar.

The rest we had to do ourselves.

So journalists did what they do best in such times: resort to junk food.

Read Carien’s first blog here.

Seeing that Gallagher Convention Centre is big, the restaurant (with the food, and more importantly, liquor) closes before dark, and the area around Gallagher is a culinary wasteland and very dark, forays to the junk food outlets had to be carefully planned.

As the briefings started rolling, so did the brown bags, buckets and boxes filled with delicacies comprising of nearly 100% transfats.

I was too afraid to venture out, so when a friend phoned to say he was on his way to Gallagher, I begged him to make a 5-minute detour to the drive-through of McDonalds and pick up four chicken burger meals (with chips, obviously) for myself and some colleagues.

He complied, but because he was a guest of delegates, he could freely mingle with them unlike us journalists and go in the easy entrance.

So I braved the security guards to take delivery of the brown bags by the delegate entrance (I couldn’t exactly expect the friend to to play Mr Delivery too and walk the 300m down to the media detention centre to bring us the food. That would amount to the torture of a philanthropist.)

Shortly after gulping down the McDonalds – the only way to eat their food – our sister team from the Afrikaans papers offered me a share of their Debonairs pizza for a favour I did them the previous day.

Even though I’m a pizza snob and don’t easily eat the fare of pizza outlets with boxes printed with their name on and with more than 20 chain outlets around the country, I politely accepted the Debonairs, for the sake of this food blog, of course.

The veggie and chicken pizza was edible, but that was about that.

Lunch was skipped because some delegates decided to use the time to campaign for their presidential candidates in song, and obviously that was a story that needed to be done.

No, this conference wasn’t about choosing leaders, but yes, the lobby groups apparently wanted to get a
head start for December’s elective conference.

Breakfast at the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum do was a far more fruitful venture, and even though the fruit was sparse again and there was no yogurt or muesli – the stuff I like first thing – there were
delightful salmon muffin-scones type thingies.

Read Carien’s previous blog here.

Because I was late, I had to wait through the one and a half hour of Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s speech to quench my parched throat with some rooibos.

The cooked food was a tad better than the previous day’s because the scrambled eggs were allowed to roam freely in their corner of the plate and wasn’t rubbered-up into a halfmoon shape, and what I think
must have been a hash brown was pleasantly thick and doughy, even though that’s not really the way I know hash browns to be.

The meat looked pleasant enough but of course I don’t allow myself that.

The official programme today, the last day of the conference, ends before lunch time, but unofficially we’ll probably only leave there an hour or two after lunch with starving tummies.

With any luck, that will allow us time and space to go and find some salad, vegetable juice, and some lean lentils too before the deadline push for Sunday begins in all madness.

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