Biltong and Rusks (2)

The way to the East to buy spices passed the Cape. Many sailors died due to a lack of fresh food anvocd Jan v Riebeeck was send by the VOC to start a halfway station and to produce fresh food for the ships to take in. The Dutch were now in control of the Cape and the elite ate food as  prepared in their motherland.

Poor v Riebeeck had a struggle. They planted vegetables and trees that could not grow in our climate. It was wet and windy and the local Khoi San refused to trade cattle with them. Later when they had cattle the Khoi San stole it. But the area had wild animals in abundace but they did not know how to hunt. They only managed to get some fish and wild ducks.

Later they inhabited more land and started more farms. Living improved. Slaves were brought in .

But alas nothing lasted and as Brittian ruled the waves they conquered the Cape and now the Elite ate Brittish cuisine.  Some families refused to be under British rule and the Great Trek began. The way people ate changed now to food that could last and this is where we will start. Biltong and Rusks ( beskuit) were made because it could last.


Biltong can be any tipe of meat cut into thin pieces and covered with salt and dried in the shade until dry. If spices like corriander and pepper was available it was added. These recipes were passed on and many families have so called family secrets .


Rusks were made like bread and if sugar was available added to make sweet rusk. Aniseed is also popular. The milk obtained after butter was made is also used. The so called buttermilk rusks. The rusks was formed in little balls and left to rise. When baked it was split and dried in the oven. Regarding the fact that they had outside ovens and large families it was quite a task.

South African Food (1)

sa foodThe information about the  history of the origins of South African food much depends on the book you are reading. It is as different as the colours of our rainbow nation.

But thinking about the origins of the food culinary of the different cultures it must also have originated from somewhere. According to historians the Persians under the rule of Cores about 550  before Christ were the leaders and the line followed the path of the conquerers.

The important cultures influencing our food tastes were the Italians, French the Germans and the Dutch. The slaves working in the Cape were taught to cook to their masters taste. For themselves they added their own flavors.

I am going to add some posts about the different types of food in South Africa and our heritage. You can find the first post about Bunny Chow here. For a list of posts focusing on South African food click here.

People of the Siege of Mafikeng

People of the Siege of Mafikeng

General. Piet Cronje was the leader of the Transvaal commando’s. He had rough peasant ways and a lot of courage. He was short of stature and had a black beard. A buccaneer of a fellow, with a reputation of ruthlessness as commissioner. An official commission have found him guilty of torturing natives. Cronje was one of the heroes of the first Anglo Boer War and rounded up Jameson at Dorinkop.

Cronje’s ways of working was opposite of that of De la Ray, this led to strain between the leaders. Cronje made many errors and blunders during the was of which one was Magerfontein. General Piet Cronje died in 1904 banished and forgoten  by his people.