Botswana: Land of the Loofah (with poll)

Aren’t Friday’s are just … the best? A day of completion – the week’s end – on the eve of renewal! I hope your Friday is wonderful. For a little entertainment, check out these factoids about Botswana…

On the dry side…

Two thirds of Botswana is covered by the sands of the Kalahari desert. In these parched areas, a variety of wild melon supply water and nutrition to inhabitants. Vegetables are often salted and dried for preservation.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

The marama bean, encased in a hard shell and high in protein and oil, is one of the most important sources of nutrition in the Kalahari. When roasted the rich, soft, nutty flavor is a cross between cashew and chestnut.

On the wet side…

Botswana is home to the sprawling Okavango Delta (also nicknamed the Okavango Swamp), the largest inland delta in the world (17,000 square miles). This area is a critical supplier of water to Botswana and neighboring countries.

Photo Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Okavango is home to big game safaris, where visitors can observe zebras, buffalo, giraffe, lions, and wildebeest.

I love me some wildebeest. Saying it forces my lips to curl up into a little smile. Wildebeeeeeeest.

Wildebeest, courtesy of M.M. Karim

If you love to read …

The popular book and show on HBO “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” by A. McCall Smith  is set in Botswana. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Mma Ramotswe prepared herself a meal of stew and pumpkin. She loved standing in the kitchen, stirring the pot, thinking over the events of the day, sipping at a large mug of bush tea which she balanced on the edge of the stove.

Tasty porridge

Botswana produces sorghum, maize, and millet. Local porridge, (called bogobe) is made by boiling sorghum (or maize) flour with water until thickened into a soft paste. When eaten plain, bogobe goes well with lunch or dinner. A splash of milk and sugar sweeten the mixture for breakfast and is called Ting.

The loofah is a popular Botswana vegetable (for more information, see Technique Thursday: how to prepare and eat loofah)


3 Comments

  1. I’m from Botswana and i still haven’t eaten loofah, i have eaten bogobe though!

    In fact i have it in a thicker form with meat and spinach regularly …maybe three times a week…and so do most of Batswana.

    The funny thing is that loofah can be used as a body scrub when it is dried!

    Keep up the good work, really love the concept of your website…

    All the best

    zina

    • globaltable says

      Thanks Zina! Glad you are enjoying the blog. I’ve only ever used loofah as a scrubber – never have eaten it. Hoping to try it someday though 🙂

  2. Hello Sasha, thank you for this interesting post!

    Here in Brazil, in the Province of Minas Gerais, it is said that Loofah plants grow like a plague. Local name: Bucha. Which is great, since we need cover crop and plenty organic material to protect our land from the worsening droughts. But nobody here in our surroundings knows about eating the gourd nor the leaves though. They are very surprised when I tell that in the middle east the leaves are known as a tumor-preventative (2 capsules a day of powdered dried leaves, or the equivalent of fresh leaves in stir-fry dishes).

    My husband and I recently emigrated from Europe to this area. We threw some Loofah seeds today around our land and we will see what happens when the rainy season finally starts. Hope to be able to tell you soon how it tastes and if we do feel well after eating this Brazilian variety 🙂

    Wishing you great meals,
    Donna

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