Thursday, August 17, 2006

for the kids

I once met a woman in a taxi who said she was “addicted” to meat. Apparently she was in America (Las Vegas) and couldn’t find meat.
“I started to feel weak. I couldn’t concentrate. My colleagues asked what was wrong. I told them, ‘We have meat on the street.’ ”
“They didn’t believe me.” She told me. “When I got home I sent them photos of the kapanas*. They didn’t believe me.” Luckily enough she found a KFC (or “Kentucky” as it’s known here); she holed up in her room at the MGM Grand and was able to regain a bit of her equilibrium.

She has a point. In America fast food isn’t meat. Meat means a bone and fat. Hamburgers are not meat. Hamburgers are kids’ food. We tried to serve hamburgers at our host family appreciation day. It was a huge insult. We quickly had to go and get a goat to cook for the older men. Chicken and fish are vegetables. Most of the vegetarians in Peace Corps find their dietary restrictions are incomprehensible. Like saying I take baths in Coca-Cola (actually I once told a learner that to explain why I am white).

There aren’t any of your typical fast food restaurants here. Only KFC. You can get “fast food” here at SPAR and at gas stations. It’s called “Take-Aways.” This pre-made food is then warmed up in the microwave and consists of “chips” (french fries) and various schnitzels and portions of beef. Seldom will you see bread. It’s just not something that you eat with meat. I think a cheese steak wouldn’t count as meat. Kids’ food.

Thomas Friedman has pointed out that no two countries that have McDonald’s have ever fought a war. The Golden Arches seemingly confer some kind of pacific influence on host countries. Or it just means that at a certain level of industrial development (which is necessary to build up a population that can afford and desires McRib sandwiches) inhibits rulers from pursuing conflict as it would devastate that very same development. During the war of liberation South Africa had them. South West Africa not a one. Sixteen years later, still no diplomatic relations with Ronald McDonald. Namibia should move on. For the kids.

*kapanas are dried pieces of meat sold by memes (“may-mays”) wherever public transport buses stop. you get a hunk of oryx or kudu covered in onions for N$2, about 30 cents

2 Comments:

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Namgirl said...

Don't americans have something similiar - dried meat strips? Here we call them biltong, in america you call them... beef jerky? Ja? Enlighten the unenlightened about your 'culture' too. Would be interesting for you to disect yourself as you are disecting what you see and experience here.

 
At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Namgirl said...

Don't americans have something similiar - dried meat strips? Here we call them biltong, in america you call them... beef jerky? Ja? Enlighten the unenlightened about your 'culture' too. Would be interesting for you to disect yourself as you are disecting what you see and experience here.

 

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