17 September 2010 by Robyn Campbell

Braai the Beloved Country

If there’s one thing that unites all South Africans, it’s a braai (barbeque).

Million year-old fire-cracked antelope bones found in the Wonderwerk Cave in the Northern Cape suggest our ancestors, the San hunter-gatherers, were among the earliest humans on earth who were partial to a tjop (chop), or 2, cooked on an open fire.

We’ve been following their example ever since, and few would argue that braaing is South Africa’s most democratic cooking method.

From West Coast kreef (crayfish) braais, to township chisa nyamas (communal township barbeque places) and posh suburbs where only the latest gourmet gas grill will do,  in cooking terms, the braai is our national anthem, and we love any excuse to light one.

From West Coast kreef (crayfish) braais, to township chisa nyamas (communal township barbeque places) and posh suburbs where only the latest gourmet gas grill will do,  in cooking terms, the braai is our national anthem, and we love any excuse to light one.

So, what better way for a braai-crazy nation to celebrate our shared heritage than with a Guinness World Record beating Mother-of-a-braai? And, who better to light the fire than local braai expert, Jan Scannell aka Jan Braai of Braai4Heritage.

On the 16th of September, 1 week ahead of National Braai Day 2010, Jan began his Guinness World Record attempt at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Two thousand pieces of alien Rooikrantz wood, 300 kilos of meat (and a couple of vegetarian patties) and 28.5 hours later, Jan broke the previous record for the world’s longest-running braai. All the meat was sold at a nominal price, with the proceeds going to charity.

In Jan’s own words, Braai4Heritage is about getting together to ‘burn the past and cook up a succulent future’. Come 24 September, I hope South Africa goes up in smoke, because our heritage is worth getting fired up about.

Category: Food & Wine

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