Being from the US South, I love cornbread! We already enjoy a Costa Rican version, so when we studied South Africa recently, I thought it would be fun to try their version, too! Popular in many parts of southern Africa, it is known as mealie bread. I love that it incorporates fresh corn into the recipe!
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South Africa: Mealie Bread Recipe
I used this mealie bread recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Global Table Adventure. (You may recall we used her recipe for the amazing Saudi Arabian “Magic” Cake). The only change I made was to accommodate my texture-sensitive Monkey: rather than reserving some of the corn kernels to add into the batter whole, I blended all of them with the eggs and butter.
The boys really got involved in cooking this recipe, which was nice, as lately they have been less interested in getting into the kitchen.
Best of all, in the end we had a really delicious cornbread to share with our friends!
South Africa: Favorite Books
We also read some great children’s books about South Africa. One we read over and over was Next Stop–Zanzibar Road!, which I found out about thanks to this wonderful post on Africa for Kids from Mud Hut Mama. It is a really fun book about a kind-hearted, resourceful elephant named Mama Jumbo and her animal friends. It is a wonderful way to help kids get a feel for everyday life in a small town in southern Africa.
To be totally honest, I was skeptical about reading a book about a white, foreign child going on a safari in South Africa, as it just had so many colonialist and tourist-y echoes for me. But we really enjoyed Adventures of Riley #1: Safari in South Africa, part of a series of books about a conservationist kid learning about wildlife around the world. For my nature-loving kids, it was a really fun read, and it also lent itself very easily to extension activities. For my older son, for example, we went through and did a tally of how many of the animals Riley encounters are carnivores, how many herbivores, and how many omnivores and then turned this data into a bar graph, a math concept we’ve been learning about.
And, of course, we spent a great deal of time learning about Nelson Mandela and his fight against apartheid. Mandela’s autobiography has been adapted for children as Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. This book is a great introduction to his life and the motivations behind his long struggle for freedom in his homeland. Mandela’s incredible attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation had unmistakable echoes of our study of Martin Luther King, Jr and so was a great way to bring that lesson home again.
This post is part of the series Around the World in 30 Days, providing a wonderful collection of crafts, activities, and recipes to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to our amazing world. I am also linking up to Around the World in 12 Dishes.