When this combination was set in front of you, you knew it was a joyous occasion. Weddings, Sunday lunch/dinner, an important visitor – when this meal was made, your stomach rejoiced and broke out in song and dance. The growl turned to ululation! I don’t know what it was about rice, chicken or coleslaw but it was always the choice of meal to set a special occasion. Growing up, it was the thing but as time has flown by, it has become obsolete like the Zimbabwean dollar.
Not every household could afford rice and for the homes that could afford the foreign set of starch, it was brought out on special occasions. It could have been the cost – 2kgs of rice compared to 5/10kgs of sadza would make any shopper invest in the traditional starch. Another probability was that the person making the meals in the house (the maid, mother or caregiver) had mastered the art of making sadza but was a beginner in preparing rice. And the thing with cooking for people is you don’t want to make something you’re not good at. Let’s be honest, how many times have you burnt the rice?
Ah yes! The number 1 meat choice for a lot of Zimbabweans. Take a Zimbabwean out of Zimbabwe and ask them what they would like to eat, Nando’s will be top of mind. Nando’s is internationally recognised whereas Chicken Inn, not so much. After years of eating it you would think you would be able to reverse engineer Zimbabwe’s best meal of all time. Not really! You get caught up in the occasion – the wedding. But the chicken tasted really good. You sunk your teeth into the tender and tasty white meat, your taste buds would sing songs of praise. Mmmmmmm! Chicken.
The final touch to an amazing meal – coleslaw. Carrots, lettuce and mayonnaise brought together to give an out of this world experience for your taste buds. Away from the regular muriwo (rape and for some odd reasons referred to as “maveggie” but that’s another mystery for another time) coleslaw, like chicken and rice, only come out on moments of celebration. And the recipe seemed to be universal, as if it came with every carrot and lettuce you bought. The mayonnaise was only bought for coleslaw which meant leftovers weren’t an option. Coleslaw was the final touch to the balanced diet.
Rice, chicken and coleslaw really brought people together. There wasn’t a joyous occasion that didn’t have this meal on the menu. You would find people wanting to get an invite just to have the opportunity to have their taste buds excited like never before. I know what’s going to be served at my wedding. Yup! I’m kicking it old school.