26 May 2011 by Chris Marais

Red Meat Winter in the Karoo

Firstly, to all you vegans out there, a big Sorry. Winter time in the Karoo, where I live, is tough for those who do not love the aroma of a lamb chop on the braai, a hearty beef stew on the boil or fillet steaks bigger’n plates.

It gets cold out here in the heartland, and suddenly in May it seems everyone has turned into the Michelin Man, complete with heavy jackets, Bata Industrial boots, very long scarves and big beanies. It’s hard to think there ever was or will be a summer in the Karoo. Ha. And when summer comes, bringing those tar-melting temperatures, you dream about winter, snuggling under the down duvet, sitting at fireside with a bottle of red.

And meat, glorious meat. Venison and lamb from the farms comes flooding into town, it seems every one of your neighbours arrives at your front door bearing a haunch of something delicious.

And it’s not just here in Cradock. Our fellow Karoovians living to the west in Calvinia even hold an annual festival to celebrate their love for meat. And we haven’t even begun to discuss biltong, the dried meat delicacy that has its own festival down in Somerset East.

But there’s a downside to all this jollity. The first year I lived in the Karoo, I experienced an onset of gout that I would not wish on my worst enemy. No wait, maybe I would. Anyway, I limped off to the doctor and was met by a formidable nurse bearing a formidable syringe full of Voltaren.

She ordered me to drop my rods and bend over.

“Do you do this often?”, I asked, trying to make conversation and nervously watching her handling of the large syringe.

“You guys with your red meat and your red wine in winter! We stock up with lots of Voltaren every season, but it always runs out. Why don’t you stick to whisky and vegetable broth?”

Vegans: 1; Red-Meaters: 0…

Category: Culture & History

comments powered by Disqus