Sum of all parts: the dish that reminds me of special family gatherings

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Sum of all parts: the dish that reminds me of special family gatherings

A time-honoured, nose-to-tail dish originally made by her grandmother can cure her homesickness and remind Mogau Seshoene of special family gatherings.

Food and lifestyle “trends” come and go. Some are recurring, and while many find their place in the limelight after being discovered by the mainstream, they have actually existed for many years, especially in indigenous cultures. One such “trend” that comes to mind is the principle of nose-to-tail eating, an approach to consuming meat that encourages enjoying as much of the animal as possible, if not all of it: head, trotters, intestines, liver, kidneys and the rest. There is so much that can be done with these often unpopular cuts, so much flavour and goodness to be enjoyed.

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But in fact, this is how we used to eat before we had the option of supermarket shopping. Convenience aside, it’s easy to forget that farmers raise whole cows, and not just a piece of steak. One of the times when we practise this principle, in my culture, is at a big celebration – for example, when entire generations gather to commemorate a coming-of-age ceremony, celebrate a wedding, or remember a loved one through a tombstone unveiling. These are the only times, apart from Christmas, when my family can be together because we are so scattered around the country.

Ox liver with spinach bread

Find the recipe for ox liver with spinach bread here.

Whatever the reason, the week leading up to the event is as much a celebration as the event itself. A cow, sheep or goat is slaughtered and, with the whole family in attendance, the food that is prepared must stretch to feed everyone. Hands down my favourite pre-celebration meal is my gran’s ox liver served with morogo bread, although spinach can be used if morogo is not available.

The smell of this bread as it bakes – made with love – sets the tone for an amazing day with family, who can’t wait to cut it while piping-hot and use it to mop up the delicious onion sauce that the liver is cooked in. The trick to cooking the liver is to make sure you don’t overdo it. It must remain juicy. This is the one time my family doesn’t mind the sight of a little blood, otherwise they are all “well done folk” (which I say without judgment, but that’s a conversation for another day!).

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It’s an easy recipe that’s ready in no time, and something I also make when I’m feeling particularly homesick. I dish up, close my eyes, and imagine myself at home with my family.

Mogau Seshoene Article by: Mogau Seshoene

Mogau Seshoene, AKA The Lazy Makoti is a cookbook author and TV star.

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