Around the World in 80 Plates: Harare, Zimbabwe

Welcome to Zimbabwe, in the southern part of the African continent!

The capitol city, where Captain Create is visiting, is called Harare, and is home to many people, including professors, researchers, accountants, restaurant cooks, and bus drivers (just like we have here in Utah). These folks have to get up and attend school or work each day, just like we do. They all have to eat too! Keep reading to learn about the country, things to do for fun, and find a recipe to try out with your family that might be a little different from what you’re used to, but still tastes great!

Zimbabwe is a sub-tropical country, with hot and dry areas, like the Zambezi Valley, and cooler, higher altitude areas like the Eastern Highlands. Some parts even get frost in winter. There are many amazing wild animals living in Zimbabwe, including African Elephants, which are protected and at risk of losing their habitat. There are 11 National Parks in Zimbabwe, both for protection of wildlife and maintaining the natural ecosystem. You can visit these national parks, and hopefully get to see the unique animals, plants, and birds; try not get too close up to the snakes and spiders though!

Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, is located in the country’s extreme northwest and is part of the Zambezi river.1 It is 5,604 feet wide and 354 feet high. 2The border between Zambia and Zimbabwe runs through the middle of the river, the falls, and the bridge you can see below. You can visit the viewpoints of these falls from either country. The falls are most spectacular between January and July, when the regions up-river have received rain.2

Like many countries on the continent of Africa, their cuisine is based on a few staples like cornmeal and vegetables, because they are more cost effective to grow than animals for meat. Mealie-meal (cornmeal) is often eaten as a thin porridge called Bota for breakfast with peanut butter or jam, or as a thicker cornmeal paste called sadza, served as a side with cooked vegetables and meat for lunch and dinner. Because Zimbabwe had been colonized by the British for their natural resources, (think gold and diamond mines, and rubber trees) many Zimbabweans drink tea daily and eat on a typical British meal schedule, with breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and then supper. Big celebrations, like weddings and graduations often prompt families to cook a larger animal like a goat or cow to feed all the people attending the party. Barbecues are everywhere!

One tasty stew you’d likely find all over Zimbabwe is the spicy and nutty Dovi. The recipe below is vegetarian, but you can add meat (they’d use chicken, goat, or lamb). They would use African Bird Chilis or peri peri sauce, which is very spicy, but you can use any hot sauce you’d like to. It can be as hot, or not, as you make it. Okra is a really yummy vegetable with little white seeds inside that crunch when you bite them, and they’re common in African and American Southern cooking. This stew is usually served with sadza (cooked cornmeal) or rice or mashed potatoes along side it.

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