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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.

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