Nshima and Web Page
Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 04:01:38 -0700 (PDT) From: Timothy Lane email@example.com, Dr. Mwizenge Tembo, Bridgewater College, firstname.lastname@example.org [COMMENT]Mulibwanji. My name is Tim. I am writing from California. This weekend, while perusing the Internet, I stumbled across your wonderfully crafted page on nshima. I lived in Lusaka (in Woodlands and Roma) for part of 1998 while doing some volunteer work in Zambia. After spending my first few weeks in the country subsisting on peanut butter and bread, I was elated to discover the subtle deliciousness of nshima and relish. With the kindness of several nshima experts and lots of practice (including several ruined pots and possibly half a 5 kg bag of mealie meal lost to high heat or improper stirring), I was eventually able to make my first plate of lumpy nshima and relish. The combination quickly became my favorite dish of any origin (especially when cooked properly) and I have dearly missed the meal since.
Since returning to North America a couple of years ago, I have been completely unable to find a restaurant serving anything quite like Zambian nshima and relish. In Washington D.C., for instance, there are a number of restaurants in the Adams Morgan district (some of which you may be familiar with) which serve a West African, yam based approximation of nshima. Although very appetizing, the use of spices and the texture of the yam porridge in the West African staple create a taste somewhat different than the brilliantly simple deliciousness of Zambian nshima. Flavored with little more than onions, cabbage or greens, tomatoes, and a bit of salt, there is truly nothing quite like nshima and relish. And the discovery of your webpage has subsequently encouraged me to once again attempt the preparation of my old favourite. In the absence of a Zambian tutor, I didn’t think I would have much success attempting to cook nshima from memory - particularly with the kitchen smoke detector standing by to remind when I've burned another pot. With the use of your recipe as a guide, however, I'm a bit more confident that I will (eventually) be able to get a nice pot of nshima prepared. In lieu of mealie meal, I will probably try to use finely ground yellow maize (corn meal) and will likely prepare the relish in advance as it might take a few tries to finally get a good pot of hot nshima. Whatever the result of my cooking endeavors, it is great to see Zambian culture represented in North America. Beyond the cuisine and scenery, many of the underlying values of Zambian society are indeed wonderful models for North America and the world. For instance, in the midst of certain community conflicts elsewhere in Africa, many North Americans I chat with are surprised when I tell them about the remarkably amiable (almost cousin-like) relationship between Bemba and Nyanja speaking Zambians - and, in the midst of our Western commercial traditions, it is similarly often difficult to effectively explain the remarkable sense of community among Zambians. Your students are undoubtedly very fortunate to have such interesting perspectives for use in their study of comparative sociology. Best of success in your continued dissemination of Zambian cultural elements throughout North America - and please do let me know in the event you discover any Zambian restaurants in this hemisphere!
Best regards and thanks