There are more interesting things happening on our dinner plates than we imagined, writes Lance Fredericks.
AESOP is credited with saying, “Betray a friend and you’ll often find you have ruined yourself.”
I felt that bitter, sharp, barbed sting of betrayal back in 1980. I have mentioned it once before, but it bears repeating today because on the same day of the worst betrayal, I saw the true value of a true friend.
It was the last day of primary school. This would be the last day that I would be dropped off in front of Progress Primary School, as from the following year I was going to be a high school student. But I wasn’t letting that privileged status go to my head.
In fact, just the previous day my two best friends and I had discussed this and we decided that to prove our humility we would come to school on the last day of us being seniors wearing shorts.
Now remember, this was the start of the 1980s and shorts meant something different back then to what it does today. Think Magnum PI’s shorts, or even better find the music video of Jan Jan Jan, ‘Wys Jou Vleis’ and you will get the picture.
I wore THAT shorts to school that day. The problem was that I didn’t have much ‘vleis’ to wys … in fact my pins looked like the sosatie stokkies after the dinner.
However, unbeknownst to me, my friends had decided that wearing shorts on the last day was silly and they both wore their denim jeans … their long denim jeans!
It stung … How on earth do you hide two sosatie sticks when you’re wearing a ‘Magnum PI’ shorts? That was the sting of betrayal.
But that’s not the whole story. The other part of this tale is that I walked into the classroom carrying – for the final class party of primary school – my speciality made especially for my classmates.
My parents, uncles, aunts and every visitor that graced our lunch table would praise my signature dish to the heavens … but I didn’t realise they were just saying that to be nice. And they were saying it because my signature dish went well with lunch and dinner.
Imagine walking into your last class party where there are chips, scones, samosas, currie balls and plenty of sweeties … carrying an aluminium foil pan filled with slushy tomato, onion and mayonnaise salad with a smidge of garlic.
Needless to say, no one gave it a second look. Until one of my jeans-wearing pals saw my discouraged face – it was just about half a metre above my sosatie stokkies. So he whipped off the foil lid, dipped in a butter knife and ate some of the salad to show me that he appreciated my effort. He even said, “It’s lekker!”
That little gesture meant the world to me … and that knife tip of salad did him the world of good too, by the way. He walked out of that primary school healthier than all the other kids just because he ate some of my fresh, raw salad.
Allow me to elaborate … Eating onion, tomato and garlic apparently does more good than fried foods. And these days, who can afford to fry anything with the price of cooking oil being what it is anyway?
Onions, for example. Have you ever thought about how much onions resemble our cells? When you look at a picture of a cell, you’ll notice that it has layers upon layers, and when you cut an onion in half, you’ll find a similar pattern. Interesting that onions help to clear waste materials from our cells.
What about tomatoes? Well, when you slice open a tomato you’ll notice that a tomato has four chambers and is red. And similarly our heart is also red and also has four chambers. Isn’t it interesting that lycopene, a phytochemical found in tomatoes, protects the heart against the process that causes heart disease?
And the garlic? Well that came in handy because it kept the girls at bay that day and my pal met the love of his life in high school a few years later.
But there are more interesting things happening on our plates. Have you ever really looked at a walnut? Looks like a brain, does it not? And guess what … Walnuts contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fats of any other nut. This fat helps develop over three dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.
Chop a carrot and you’ll find a core surrounded by a fibrous-looking corona. It looks like an eye, and no surprise that carrots enhance blood flow and increase the function of our eyes. They contain important antioxidants that protect the eyes and help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
It just goes on and on … Kidney beans have been found to actually heal and help maintain kidney function. Celery looks like a femur so you’d expect it to be good for bones and no surprise that just like bones are 23% sodium celery are also 23% sodium. They also contain silicon, an important nutrient for bone health.
The humble sweet potato has the same shape as our pancreas and helps to support and strengthen it. Diabetics may find it interesting to find out more about sweet potatoes. Even ginger, it looks like the stomach – one of ginger’s biggest benefits is aiding digestion.
How about this one? Bananas, that curved fruit, contain a protein called tryptophan. Once digested, tryptophan is converted into a chemical neurotransmitter called serotonin, and higher levels of serotonin are associated with better moods.
The list just goes on and on, do your own research on ‘The Doctrine of Signatures’, you may be both surprised and delighted.
Personally though, all I am wondering is … will eating turkey drumsticks convert my sosatie stokkies to lekker dik boude? I just need to know, in case I am betrayed again and I have to wear shorts again one day.