Tuesday, November 20, 2012


New African foods, continued:
Meet Rooibos (pronounced roy-bus by the local whites here, and roy-bahs by the Shona):

Known as "the red drink," rooibos is the most popular kind of tea, and hence one of the most popular drinks, in southern Africa.  (At 10:30 and 3:00 daily, the country stops for tea.)

Most think that rooibos serves as another reminder of British colonialism's tie to our country.  The tea, however, was being drunk in Africa for centuries before the British or Dutch settlers ever arrived and encouraged its production. It grows only in a small part of the Western Cape of South Africa, but is gaining wide popularity throughout the world as studies uncover its health related potential.  The tea is naturally caffeine-free and has oodles of health benefits: http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2010/04/many-health-benefits-of-rooibos-tea.html  Look at your store; I bet they have it!

Jonas, a mad tee drinker, was introduced to rooibos from his Grandma and Grandpa Miller this summer, who had brought a love for the red drink back with them to Iowa after a visit to South Africa decades ago.  Here in Africa Jonas loves his daily rooibos one of four ways....  It is great warm or iced, but most commonly Jonas drinks sun tea.  Every day we fill two glass jars with water and a rooibos tea bag, then set Jonas loose in the yard to find a sunny spot.  (When we're feeling lazy-below-a sunny kitchen window works!) Within five minutes of African sun, voila, it is done.


Jonas' favorite way to drink rooibos, though, was discovered during our most recent trip to South Africa (aka "visa purgatory.") The latest craze in Capetown is red cappuccinos and red espressos.  Never thought I'd be giving my three year old a cappuccino, but it was literally just foamed milk and (no caffeine) rooibos with a touch of honey.  Delicious.

Now my three ear old wakes up in the morning asking for cappuccino.  Lord, what have I done?!