Two for the kitchen shelf

01 June 2016 - 10:15 By Andrea Burgener

There is nothing new under the sun, both the Bible and Shakespeare have told us. Sometimes when I sift through the food books on offer, I couldn't agree more. But every now and then there is indeed something new under the sun. Such an item is the book EatTing, by dietician extraordinaire Mpho Tshukudu, and food writer and culinary anthropologist Anna Trapido. If Trapido's name is on a book, you know to expect wit, wisdom and out-of-the-box thinking in spades. This is no exception. Tshukudu is new to the food-book scene, but clearly she is born to it.Lose weight. Gain health. Find yourself. This is the book's sub-title. But Eat Ting is not really a diet book. It's much more than that. It is, as Tshukudu says, a way of "incorporating ancient tastes into modern lives".Eat Ting addresses the very specific problems faced by many urban South Africans trying to maintain a healthy weight despite the double-whammy of instant-Western-junk and the eating obligations of the "triple M" maso (funerals), matlapa (tombstone unveilings) and magadi (lobola gatherings), through a celebration of traditional African food. But this is traditional with a twist. Never faddy or tricksy, the dishes feel fresh and perfect . And it looks beautiful too.I cannot describe how good mabele with coconut cream and peanut butter is, ditto morogo pesto and the modernised Lamb Tshotlho. It's inspiring. And the book isn't just recipes; there's piles of nutritional advice and thoughtful social commentary too. Local diet books usually eschew African foods, suggesting that only salmon and cottage cheese will do the trick. Tshukudu and Trapido have come to show us the light. Published by Quivertree, R328.Another - though considerably less appetising - way to shed kilograms, is to read Sorting the Beef from the Bull; the Science of Food Fraud Forensics. Horsemeat in hamburgers seems to be the least of our worries, if we believe these authors on matters of food production. After reading this, you might be giving most foodstuffs on the supermarket shelf a very wide berth. There have been myriad books and documentaries in recent decades which look at this topic, but few of them go into the matter with such rigour.Written by a professor of biochemistry and a biologist, this book investigates the matter on a DNA sort of level. It's fascinating. How do you make an entirely fake egg, complete with shell? They'll explain how the Chinese do it. Find out exactly what added transglutaminase is doing in your meat. And how "Maggot Pete" managed to feed rotten poultry to Britons for years. Richard Evershed & Nicola Temple. Bloomsbury, R328...

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