National Pickle Day – Pickles and Tanzanian Diet


November 14, 2015 • News & Events • Views: 1237

National Pickle Day

National Pickle Day is just round the corner as it is celebrated every year on November 14th. Did you know that the term pickle comes from a Dutch word ‘pekel’ which means brine? Pickles are the staple food in most of the African and Asian countries. Let’s have a look at Tanzania, and how pickles are consumed in their everyday life.

Interesting Facts That You Should Know About Pickles

Before we continue with Tanzanian food and meal customs, here are a few facts about pickles that you may find interesting.

  • Julius Caesar used to feed pickles to his army because he felt that it helped with spiritual and physical strength.
  • Cleopatra gave the credit of her good looks to her diet that consisted of pickles.
  • Pickles are low in calories, and are a great source of Vitamin K.
  • Every year almost 5,200,000 pounds of pickle are consumed in the USA.

How many of these did you know?

History and Food in Tanzania

Tanzania is situated in East Africa and lies besides the Indian Ocean. Arabic influences can be seen in this East African country because in 800 A.D, Muslim Arabs used to come here for trading purposes. Some common dishes that are usually served in Tanzania include biryani and pilau that are served with spices like cloves, cinnamon and saffron. Other than this, Indian immigrants brought with them food like chapattis, curries, and of course, pickles. Currently, there are several Indian restaurants in the country that are managed by Khoja Indians, where a lot of locals go to enjoy the food and scrumptious pickles.

The food of Tanzania is similar to that found in rest of East Africa. Meat is generally eaten only during special occasions like wedding, birth of a baby, and religious festivals. The famous meat dishes of the country are nyama choma (grilled meat) and ndayu (roasted goat meat). Moreover, pickles are generally eaten with most of the Tanzanian dishes to accentuate their taste.

The staple diet of Tanzanians includes pilaf, sorghum and cornmeal, whereas the national dish is ugali that is served with meat, vegetables and pickles. The food is generally eaten out of a big bowl that is shared by everyone. Some of the other famous food includes ndizi (bananas), and pawpaw (papaya).

Food for Religious Occasions and Celebrations

One-third of Tanzania’s population is Muslim and one-third is Christian, whereas the remaining fraction consists of Hindus and other indigenous religions. This is the reason why different religious festivals are celebrated in the country.

The Christmas dinner usually consists of pilau (a rice dish with meat and spices), chicken, seafood, red meat, pickles and chai. Eid is celebrated by Muslims of Tanzania, and food like plantains, fish, dates, cassava chips, tamarind juice, and ugali is consumed.

Mealtime Customs

Prior to a meal, Tanzanians wash their hands in a bowl and a towel is generally passed around. The largest meal of the day is lunch and it consist of pickles, stew, ugali, and kisamuru (cassava leaves). Well off families generally consume meat with a vegetable, wali (rice) dish, maharage (beans), and pickles. The vegetables that are served on the side are prepared with peanuts (Mchicha) and peanut butter (Makubi). Fresh fruits are generally consumed during dinner time.

In conclusion, pickles have their own significance in Tanzania diet since they are served with every meal. It sure seems like National Pickle Day will be a success in the country, as Tanzanians can’t seem to have enough of it!






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