Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas dinner in the Mara

Vegetarians, turn back now. Although, since you’re reading a carnivore blog, I’m assuming you have no objection to – or even get some gratification out of – the consumption of large amounts of meat.

Forget ham, turkey, and leg of lamb…the Maasai celebrate with nyama choma. It literally means “roast meat,” and throughout their history, the Maasai have perfected this delicacy. Here’s how it happens.

Fresh meat – ours was goat, although beef is also traditional – is loaded onto spits, kind of like a giant shishkabobs. The spits are stuck into the ground and bent over a fire. As the meat roasts, the spits are turned so that all the meat is cooked to perfection…the outside is crisp and deliciously caramelized, and the inside is juicy and perfectly tender.

Once it’s done, the spit is removed from the fire and stuck in the ground, right in front of you. It’s cut off the bone with a panga (Maasai machete), and eaten straightaway. No need for plates, silverware, or extra seasoning. Napkins, while absent from our feast, are definitely a plus.

Since there’s no way anyone can actually consume this much goat in one sitting, the leftovers are wrapped up in leaves and taken home. Much more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam or aluminum foil! Just remember to keep your Maasai doggie-bag safely tucked away to avoid losing your leftovers to hungry hyenas.

Simple, traditional, delicious.

Hope your holidays are as happy – and scrumptious – as mine!


Will said...

Looks like a churrascaria, except they do carve the meat onto your plate. Yum!

Happy holidays!

Dana said...

Happy Holidays to those in the Mara.

P.S. Does goat taste like chicken? LOL!

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science