EDITOR'S THOUGHTS - Tradition or Innovation?
“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking!” an iconic quote by Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. It essentially speaks to the predictability of the human nature. With every celebration, there’s a symbolic food to mark the occasion. In the US, it’s Turkey for Thanksgiving, in Cape Malay homes it’s pickled fish for Easter and in many Southern African countries, and all around the world really, nothing marks the Festive Christmas season quite like a trifle, it’s an ongoing debate, a divisive one. One group shares Miranda’s sentiments and begs us to do something new, something fresh and innovative. “Excite my palate!”, they beg. And on the other end of the divide, the question is why should we change or refresh something that works? So, tradition or Innovation? It’s a fine line to tread, but one worth exploring. The debate even extends as far as the gentrification of traditional food, mala mogodu plated with tweezers on a fine dining menu? Why not! But then again, why? Like I said fine line! Both sides of the debate matter, and here’s why. We absolutely must preserve our food traditions. The OG mala mogodu style of chucking it all in a cast iron pot with a pinch of salt and leaving it on an open flame for hours on end produces a fine result that you could possibly never replicate in the world’s top Michelin Star restaurants, and why would you? In the same breath, the theatrics of mala mogodu plated with tweezers, presented under a cloche that beautifully lets up smoke when lifted is something I find extremely appealing. It is also a special way of honouring the OG. It says, “You’re so great, I’m putting my own twist on you.” It happens with sampling in music and remakes in television. It doesn’t always turn out right, but when it does, it’s magic. So, do something different and order the Michelin take on chicken feet on your next fine dining adventure, or don’t. Save the experience for the street food serving where they’re authentically African, or don’t eat it at all and rather opt for chicken wings. None is better than the other. As for me, the OG trifle will be making its annual appearance at Christmas.