Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Zambia is smack in the middle of Southern Africa and is surrounded by 8 other countries: (clockwise from high noon) Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola.  Zambia was settled by all it's neighbors and they all brought their unique cuisine, traditions, languages, dances, etc.  Soooo, now you see where this post is headed?  Straight to Imbeda ya Kocha (roasted mice) and Mbewa Za Nshawa (mice in peanut butter).  

It's definitely not my cup of tea but my mind was opened up after I read a paper by by Dr. Mwizenge Tembo. It's fascinating (and it's short! I promise, but not short enough to cut and paste it here -- plus the photos are precious.) and really goes to the heart of the deep cultural connection of different cultures within Zambia to "mice on the menu" -- the tradition of eating mice goes far far beyond the logistics or rationale (mice are a cheap and available source of protein).  For example:

".....The mice legend plays many functions among the Tumbuka people. It defines limits of behavior between married men and women, reaffirms sexual division of labor and responsibilities, and discourages excesses in terms of husbands physically abusing their wives. "

See? NOW you're curious!  "Mice as a Delicacy:  The significance of Mice in the diet of the Tumbuka, People of Eastern Zambia."

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