I thought that the recipe that the article added was excellent:
An nshima recipe for a family of five
Courtesy of the BBC's Kennedy Gondwe in Zambia ◾Pour about two litres of water in a pot ◾Let it almost boil ◾Throw in five handfuls of maize meal ◾Stir with a wooden spoon until the maize meal thoroughly mixes with the water ◾Let it thicken; wait for the mixture to start bubbling ◾Cook for close to 10 minutes on medium heat ◾Then add another five handfuls of maize meal while continuously stirring ◾At this stage, I prefer to sprinkle a bit of cassava meal to add a bit more nutrition and aroma ◾When the mixture reaches its desired thickness, cover the pot and switch off the stove ◾After about two minutes, scoop it out and enjoy
To go with: T-bone steak, beans and boiled okra
Is T-bone steak a Zambian staple? If so, I want to visit.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 18, 2019 19:12:17 GMT
a proposal akin to telling Italians to stop eating pasta ~ Well, more like telling them to stop eating polenta.
The article makes a great deal of sense, both for the economy and the overall health of the population.
The truth is that unslaked corn* does not give up all of its nutrients in the human body and thus is nutritionally poor. This has been addressed elsewhere on the forum by onlyMark and by me. I do wonder if the fermented maize meal mentioned in the article would yield the same benefits as slaking. This site shows why almost everyone thinks just plain corn is good for you: www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/corn#plant-compounds
*The primary nutritional benefits of nixtamalization [slaking] arise from the alkaline processing involved. These conditions convert corn's bound niacin to free niacin, making it available for absorption into the body, thus helping to prevent pellagra. Alkalinity also reduces the amount of the protein zein available to the body, which improves the balance among essential amino acids, although the overall amount of protein is reduced. Secondary benefits can arise from the grain's absorption of minerals from the alkali used or from the vessels used in preparation. These effects can increase calcium (by 750%, with 85% available for absorption), iron, copper, and zinc. Lastly, nixtamalization significantly reduces (by 90–94%) mycotoxins produced by Fusarium verticillioides and Fusarium proliferatum, molds that commonly infect maize, the toxins of which are putative carcinogens.source
It's a debate that's been going on for some time but she is probably the most high profile person to mention it. In essence, she is right. But nsima/nshima/sadza/pap is so much part of the culture I can't imagine people moving away from it. One thing by the way is that nearly every day someone prominent offers advice about something, but nothing is ever done about it. It's as though they want to be noticed and say something obvious like "Don't drink polluted water" etc.
As to poor nutrition being mentioned often, three articles from the local paper in the last few days -
A figure for you - approx 90% of the income of Zambia is used to pay wages and service is debts. Hence there is little money to do anything else and it is down to individuals and private companies to enforce any change, in anything. I've no idea what the cost would be for a farmer to change over initially from maize meal to cassava/millet/rice, but there is no money anyway to do so, plus the usual attitudes of never thinking long term about anything. The people in power can afford not to eat nsima, so they have little motivation to do anything to help the common person, as long as they can get their money in whatever way they can.
The main problems are two-fold - the wrong carbohydrate and lack of rains/water to grow anything anyway. There are areas of Zambia currently suffering badly from food shortages because of the weather and they would welcome anything, nsima or not, but until attitudes change, until there is sufficient excess in water and food to 'risk' growing something else, it'll never happen.
The people know it is true that nsima isn't the best option - but as with nearly everything here - short term outweighs long term - which means things like someone won't plan to get solar power when they don't have the money for the initial outlay plus the benefits aren't immediate - all the way down to they won't think of eating something else when they have just filled their stomach with nsima.
T bone steak isn't a staple, chicken maybe, but not steak, even though it is really good here. I've mentioned elsewhere typical Zambian meals and cuisine and they revolve around nsima with chicken or bream (fish) or kapenta (small fish) and invariably what's called 'relish' but is actually cooked green leaves of some sort. Mostly nsima and relish is about all that most can afford. Several local restaurant near me offer a portion of nsima/chicken/relish for about 30 Kwacha, roughly $2.30. Often those with very little money will buy just a portion of nsima, which will cost about $0.80, if they have to eat away from home.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 19, 2019 16:54:34 GMT
Even if they had the access, it renders a different product from the corn meal mush, so it would still be a process of converting people to it. That was why I had the question of if/how the fermented porridge differs nutritionally from regular mush.
Thanks Mark for the detail ...that makes a lot of sense. I think I ate something similar last September when I was in SA. It wasn't called nshima - but was a maize based porridge. Pretty tasteless unless other ingredients were added; I think the cook recommended syrup and nuts and then it was quite nice. Will have to have a look back through my photos to see if I took a pic.
Sadza, pap, ugali, fufu, posho, nsima...... and more. Even though they maybe different, they are similar enough for me to still prefer potatoes or rice. It is pure carbohydrate without taste and I can never ever understand why here, as well as elsewhere, bugger all is added to it to make it taste good. Everyone is so used to the blandness of it they look at me in horror when I suggest something to jazz it up a bit. Somewhat akin to blasphemy.