On our farm in the Zambezi Valley, Chris and I eat what we grow in our garden and we eat wild and indigenous food. We support our local food producers as much as we are able, and we do our best not to be wasteful. We are forever improvising or “making a plan”, a truism common throughout southern Africa. We recycle where we can, and we fix what is broken.
Living simply, as we do, forces one to slow right down. It makes you observant and keeps you mindful. Neither of us pretends it isn’t tough at times. Lightning blows up electrics, we’re stung or bitten, dust storms blanket the furniture and scatter leaves throughout the house. Just try preparing dinner beneath a light swarming with little black stink bugs or flying ants.
Yet living simply does not mean we don’t eat well. It has made me resourceful and creative in the kitchen, relying much on what we grow or forage. Our two grocery stores, 25 kilometres away from the farm, are basic in comparison to those found in the West. The choice is limited, which is good. It forces me to use my imagination instead.
One of the best outcomes of living as we do is the ingenuity it has induced in my recipe development. Over time, as I turned increasingly to the garden, to the market and to the bush for my fresh ingredients, I became more and more inspired. This way of life has led me, and my bush gourmet cuisine, to the place in which I find myself today: collaborating with Zambia—its native people, its native plants, its terroir—feeding visitors in an imaginative way that not only helps to tell the story of this remarkable place, but is also a reflection of my fulfilled and happy life living with Chris on his farm in the upper Zambezi Valley in Zambia.