Monday, October 7, 2013

Food for jackals.

Harveya Squamosa. Jakkalskos, katnaels, snail flower, inkblom and a host of other charming nicknames. We saw these furry blooms everywhere on the West Coast, even the shy yellow variety. One day in Churchaven, poking about on my own and without my renegade camera, I also came across the other one for the first time - Hydnora Afrikana.
The one that our own Julia Child, C. Louis Leipoldt talks about in his wonderful book about food and life in the old Cape: Polfyntjies vir die Proe. These photographs via plantzafrica.

They are most unusual to look at - like fleshy geodes. Foul smelling parasites they are, and insect-eaters. Not on the endangered list, yet I wouldn't have the heart to dig around for the underground fruit, for fear of hurting something so bizarrely beautiful. With some sadness, I left them for the monkeys, the porcupines and the jackal.

There are so many things I have never eaten, it fills me with a particular melancholy.
Cloud berries.
A shiso leaf.

Leipoldt receives a request from his food connoisseur friend from the Congo: to surprise him with something completely indigenous and original. Leipoldt thinks long and hard and decides upon a Jakkalskos Soufflé.

His friend tries to guess...
"With medlars I would never add cinnamon."
Leipoldt merely teases him a little.
"But with guavas I always add some Maraschino - in this case it would have been better!", the friend tries again.

Leipoldt goes on to say that it is impossible to describe the taste - as impossible as trying to describe the flavour of a pineapple. He recommends a small glass of Muscadel wine as accompaniment.
Back in those days you could buy Jakkalskos fruit at the big fish and vegetable market on Greenmarket Square in Cape Town, now sadly an African curio market. Only the cobbles remain.

Christian Louis Leipoldt
Poet, Doctor, Journalist, Cook, Lekkerbek, Traveller,
Buddhist, Mensch.

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