While recently doing an online trawl through a list of national food days in America, I was incredulous at the extent of it. From Ranch Dressing
Day to Ice-Cream Pie Day, you name it, you’ve got it. And while I admit I chuckled at quite a few of the tributes, it was at the same time endearing to see toppings, trimmings, side dishes and sauces
each getting their own day to shine, along with time-honoured foreign treasures like Welsh rarebit and English toffee.
Former US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter once said of his nation: “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.” I’ve always been partial to this quote because, while I appreciate the term melting pot, its very name suggests fusion, merging and blending in, while a mosaic is a picture made up of small yet individual pieces that fit together in a unique formation. I believe this is true of the cultural dynamic in so many countries around the world, including our own. We co-exist, juxtaposed, in strikingly different ways, all the while forming part of a crazy, beautiful puzzle – and even the cultures that may have merged along the way are themselves distinct in their formation and equally proud of the cornerstones they have created within their communities.
For me, these culinary tribute days – which not only America and other countries have signed up for, but the world has come to mark – represent not simply a novelty or commercial opportunity, but an acknowledgement that, no matter the humility, ethnicity or quirkiness of the ingredient or dish, it’s worth a nod and a moment of thought at the least. Certainly, we’ve celebrated two products in this issue that the world would not be the same without – so, please don’t miss our tributes to International Coffee Day on 1 October (page 78) and World Egg Day on 12 October (page 42).
And, who knows, perhaps next year it won’t be only National Braai Day (24 September) we celebrate in SA, but also days dedicated to morogo, slap chips, bunny chow and all of the other South Africanisms that warm our hearts.