Hastings on Food

2016-03-03 06:00

SALUTATIONS soul brothers and soul sisters. Yes the path we walk is twisting and perpendicular with dark and treacherous sections as well as radiant and surreal. We are driven by our inner being, our soul, our very essence. It inspires us and it ignites us, giving us the empowerment to achieve and create.

Creationism is a doctrine held by certain individuals who believe a higher power creates an essence for each generated body. Some believe this essence is reincarnated many times over as it occupies a new host, simply described as if you drop a cup of water, the water remains while the vessel is destroyed.

We can relate to our souls as a metaphysical, almost a ghost-like entity that resides in, as well as, beyond us. Even when we are mystified it creates in itself infinite possibilities that are the daily aspects of our lives when considering our virtues and values. Understanding that one’s attitude has a meaningful role in human existence brings us to the conscious awareness that we can overcome when disconnected or lost.

So when we become aware of these creative experiences throughout our existence, their meanings evolve where we often ask ourselves, is it love, procreation or mere survival.

We reflect on not only “what” we are, and “what” we care about, but “who” we are and “who” we care about.

Most people when asked “who do you want to be” tend to focus on “I want to be”, before realising they need to lean towards the greater significances of the process to becoming a “who” first in order to discover the “what” whereby nurturing our attitudes in line with our souls.

When we cook a simple dish it always has our personal take on it, however, to make them remarkably unforgettable we have to cook with passion, from the soul.

The term “soul food” has part of its legacy in the disgraceful African slave era of the American history, this occurred mainly in the south where the culture cuisine was fashioned using meagre ingredients available to these individuals. The meat was the least desirable cuts and the vegetables were also the less preferred and often bordered on been classified as weeds.

Yet from these meagre ingredients the slaves were able to create nutritious hearty dishes to feed their families, due mainly to being creative and cooking from the soul.

The slaves experimented with new greens, among others - mustard kale, turnips, beets, dandelions and collards. On the meat side they used pig’s feet, beef tongue, ham hocks, pig ears and tripe, all considered disadvantageous to regular folk.

Regular additions to a slave’s diet included wild game, rabbit and raccoon­, which they caught during their hunting explorations

To flavour their recipes they added garlic, onions, thyme, bay leaves, as well as other herbs and spices.

Over time these slaves graduated as cooks within the plantation houses and in an instant the whole concept of regular Southern cooking transformed. Dishes such as fried chicken, boiled white and sweet potatoes became regulars at meal times.

Puddings and pies were made with local ingredients such as wild berries, apples, peaches and nuts, leftover fish became croquettes, stale bread was used for bread pudding and individual delicacies comprised using the whole animal.

Dishes such as deep-fried steak, chicken gizzards, hearts, livers, hog intestines, ribs, meatloaf, catfish and oxtail became more apparent. Side dishes concentrated on field produce, macaroni cheese became a popular breakfast item and biscuits were often used to mop up gravy.

In more recent times, soul food can also be attributed to the civil rights movement in the early sixties and has grown to become well-known enjoyable dishes in many different cultures. The recipes still remain quite simple and essentially always made with the added ingredient of love.


Mustard greens (spinach) and ham hocks


•1 kg mustard greens washed and roughly chopped (fresh spinach can be used)

•1 kg green cabbage, decored and roughly chopped

•1 kg smoked ham hocks

•4 lt vegetable stock

•Khoisan sea salt

•rainbow pepper

•brown sugar

•fresh thyme

•1 kg potatoes, skin on cut into cubes


•In a pot place the ham hocks and cover with vegetable stock. Heat until boiling then turn down the heat and simmer for 1½ hours

•Stir in the chopped greens and spices­ - cook for 30 minuets

•Add the potatoes and cabbage and cook for an additional 30 minutes

•Check the seasoning


Southern spare ribs


•3 kg pork spare ribs


•rainbow pepper

•tomato juice

•red onion, chopped

•½ cup cider vinegar

•½ cup brown sugar

•olive oil

•Worcestershire sauce

•English mustard powder


•Season the ribs with salt and pepper and place in an oven tray

•Blend the rest of the ingredients and pour over the ribs making sure to coat evenly

•Refrigerate overnight

•Allow the ribs to reach room temperature

•Preheat the oven to 180°C

•Cover the pan with foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour

•Remove the foil and bake further to gain colour

•Remove from the oven cut into segments and serve.

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