From Capetown to Wacotown: A Braai Day Celebration

We’re always looking for inspiration, and part of our creative process with Sobremesa Waco begins with embracing other cultures and integrating new ideas into our WacoTown experience.  So when Carole came to me with her National Braai Day idea, I said “yes, please!” (right after I googled “what is a Braai”)

South Africa serves as a home to a diverse mix of citizens-a true melting pot of cultures, with 11 official languages, and a jaded history marked by both unimaginable racism and also incredible redemption.  South Africans believe diversity only enriches the human experience, and despite the blend of people groups, on September 24 every year, South Africans celebrate “National Heritage Day” or   South African Braai Day .  The National Braai Day website describes their annual celebration like this:

“Across race, language, region and religion, we all share one common heritage. It is called many things: Chisa Nyama, Braai and Ukosa to name few. Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when we have something to celebrate we light fires, and prepare great feasts.”

Although we’re halfway across the world, I identify with this need to come together, celebrate our differences, and eat some great damn food. So that’s what we did!


A giant white onion = the best way to clean a dirty grill


Sirloin + Braai Grilled Cheese

For the meat, a flank steak or lamb shoulder would be the more traditional way to go.  I decided to reach for sirloins instead, which we will top with a tomatillo salsa verde. The grilled ciabatta, on the other had, sticks to tradition–Carole stuffed the entire loaf with cheese, salami, tomatoes, onions, and an amazing raspberry chutney. The result was simply stunning.


Charred and delicious stuffed ciabatta


Grilled sirloin topped with tomatillo salsa

Sausage also typically makes an appearance at a South African Braai, so we thew in some brats for good measure.


Grilled brats fresh off the Bar-B

We aren’t total heathens, so Carole put together a beautiful spread of fresh vegetables drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.


Garden vegetables

And it wouldn’t be a celebration without something delicious to drink.  We picked a crisp, dry hard cider.


Foggy Ridge Cider

While Carole ran around taking photos and playing hostess, I got to hang out with Miss Lucy Rose.


This baby loves a good Braai

In true Sobremesa fashion, the best part of the whole evening happened after we were done stuffing our faces.  We sat together on the floor of the Fergusson’s living room, watched the trailer for a new Wes Anderson movie, and cracked up while watching YouTube compilations.

We had a great time, and the whole experience was ultra casual, laid-back, and totally easy to throw together.  So often the most beautiful experiences are birthed out of authentic simplicity.  So take a lesson from Capetown, and go create some community in your own backyard or a park near you.  You’ll thank us later 😛