Monday, November 09, 2015

'braaibroodjies' as a metaphor for us

We had a braai on the weekend (that's a barbecue remember?).

In South Africa (well, in lots of families in South Africa) a braai will never happen without braaibroodjies (aside: the best autocorrect can offer for this word is 'broodmares'. Not the same.).

I'm sure I've spoken about this before, braaibroodjies have been one of those tropes of our relationship.
It took me years to take them seriously. I mean, who has essentially a cheese & tomato toasted sandwich as a side dish to an otherwise perfectly satisfying and fulfilling meal? We do apparently.

Husband confessed some time ago that he only really, deeply, fell in love with me once I embraced the braaibroodjie.
Which I have done, in all its smoky, cheesy, extra-unnecessary-carb glory.

There are different ways of enjoying the braaibroodjie, and on Saturday I realised our family, of 4, each require their own, taylor-made, version. And the conversation which ensued made a whole lot of sense.

Me, to husband: 'So I'm making four different types of braaibroodjie??'
Him: 'Why, how are you and Frieda different?'
[Interesting. How are we different, this child to whom I so deeply relate? Well, in lots of ways obviously, but in some not at all. To answer his question, I have tomato, she doesn't, but bigger picture we're similar in that, if she was served a braaibroodjie with tomato in it she'd just turf the slices out and carry on eating it. We're not hugely particular, she and I.
It's weird when your kid gets to an age you remember being. I look at Frieda aged 8 and I think I know what that feels like, I think I see myself in there.
Another aha moment is that I think sometimes I want to believe I'm a lot like Frieda. Because she's pretty cool. I like her world-view, I'm sure she gets it from me. Right?]

Husband to me: 'This onion is so mild you should put some on Stella's one.'
To which the only conceivable response is: 'Are you high?'
No really, are you actually stoned?
[No idiot puts onion on Stella's braaibroodjie when Stella Does Not Like Onion. The very notion is impossible to compute.
Yes sure, 'try something new' and all that, but not Stella. Stella will decide when Stella would like to try something new. Stella will decided when Stella will eat onion. Stella is not interested in change, deviance from the way of Stella and certainly not suggestions from mere other parties on how she'd like to reform her braaibroodjie. Seriously, are you smoking something? And if yes, why are you not sharing?]

Me, to husband: 'Do you know the most concentration I employ while making braaibroodjies is when I make yours?'
Him: 'Good.'
Me: <flat stare>
But no seriously. Husband's sandwich construction is like a work of mathematical genius. A calculated feat of engineering. A creative construct in which every bite is to perfectly encapsulate the very essence of braaibroodjie.

So, here goes:
Husband: Onion. Cheese, Tomato, Italian Herbs.
Me: Onion, Cheese, Tomato, Italian Herbs, Chutney. Or whatever.
Frieda: Onion, Cheese, Chutney, Italian Herbs.
Stella: Cheese. ONLY CHEESE.

Construct. Butter the outsides only. Intricately code to discern one from the other. Toast over coals in grid recently vacated by sizzling lamb chops or perfectly spiced chicken thighs.


Viva la difference!

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