‘Tshisa nyama’ is the way to go

2013-09-24 00:00

IN an earlier career, I ran a tshisa nyama. For those living on another planet or emerging from a coma to find Robben Island is now a tourist facility starting to rival Disneyland, and Jacob Zuma is the president, and has been rather peacefully for many years, without once unveiling umshini wami for the easily excited public, tshisa nyama is a place you buy and braai meat. Direct translation would be hot meat, but you get the flavour of what I am saying.

You buy meat, put your spice on it and braai it. Nothing could be simpler, and yet it is a subtle art form, much like the poetic genre of haiku. It is a way of celebrating with friends and filling your stomach at the same time, without being part of a system that creates depressed franchise staff.

Tshisa nyama is an art. Fried meat is not the same. You get a fatty and oily taste from even the best fried meat. In well-braaied meat, there is some indefinable taste.

If you are going to kill animals for meat, you might as well cook the meat properly and celebrate their sacrifice gratefully with a scrumptious meal. I go for either burning by fire, or in my domestic habitat, a good curry with onions, garlic, potatoes and a good spicy combination to get the most sceptical praising the Lord.

People are squeamish about meat sometimes. If one thinks about it, it’s very uncomfortable eating something that has a brain and emotions. It’s easier to eat plants if you are a philosopher, or, alternatively, smoke them. Perhaps one day the lion will lie down with the lamb. Until then, the hungry lion must feed.

Liberal-minded people are easily pacified. They enjoy their rump covered in delicious sauces, not realising that the tenderness of the steak is due to the fact that it was green before it was washed and cooked, as mature steaks are very tender.

They will go to prestigious stores and pay double the price for something that is not genetically modified, or does not contain growth hormones according to the label, but the reality is often otherwise. Rather have some fresh tshisa nyama.

I prefer to eat in a tshisa nyama to a fancy restaurant or franchise takeaway. I always think of my friend, Baxola, who said of a certain franchise that it sells you one chicken thigh for the same price that you can get a whole chicken elsewhere. I like a tshisa nyama because it is a true symbol of democracy. You don’t have to be fancy to eat there, you don’t have to be overly versed in Versaille etiquette, you can participate in your own meal’s creation like a true participatory democracy and it’s generally more healthy.

See you at a tshisa nyama of your choice. As we celebrate Heritage Day today, also known as Braai Day, let’s get some fires stoked up.

Even the venerable archbishop enjoys his T-bone on a Heritage Day fire.

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