This Venda dish is a must for my homecoming menu, says Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida
The newly-crowned beauty queen on her food heroes, love of fry ups and whether she's a fan of mopane worms
I’m sure food was the last thing on your mind after you won the Miss SA pageant on Saturday. Can you recall the first meal you had after winning the crown?
I was rushed off to do photographs and interviews as soon as it was announced I had won. Someone bought a plate of canapes and I ate a beef skewer or two.
I had my first proper meal the next morning in a fabulous suite in the Table Bay Hotel I had been moved to. I ordered a hearty breakfast — fried eggs, beef sausage, hash browns, grilled tomato and baked beans. I ate it with a magnificent view over the whole of the Cape Town waterfront. The moment was surreal and the food delicious. I felt truly blessed.
Later that day, Miss SA first runner-up Thato Mosehle treated me to sticky ribs as part of a celebratory lunch.
The people of Ha-Masia, your home village in Limpopo, can’t wait for you to return for a big celebration. What dish do you think will be central to your homecoming festivities?
My favourite is the traditional Venda dish Muroho-Wa-Thanga, which is pumpkin leaves which we boil in stock and then flash fry with sauteed chopped onion and serve with crushed peanuts. I love it and it always brings back happy memories of my childhood, my family and good times, so it has to be on the menu.
Describe a typical day of eating, sharing what you enjoy for breakfast, lunch and supper.
I try to have a big breakfast and am a huge fan of a cooked breakfast. For lunch I have salad and fruit and for dinner meat, starch and vegetables.
I believe you should eat everything in moderation. I don’t ban myself from eating anything – I love a good hamburger and fries.
I try to stay hydrated during the day by drinking loads of water and I always have a handful of nuts nearby.
Are you a keen cook and if so, share a dish that is your speciality?
I wouldn’t say I am a keen cook though I learnt a lot from my mother and have spent more time in the kitchen during lockdown.
I like dishes that are easy to prepare but are packed with flavour. One pan meals such as chicken thighs put in a casserole dish with Rosa tomatoes, kalamata olives, garlic cloves and a splash of olive oil and braised in the oven. Simple but very tasty.
Aprons have become a trendy must-have kitchen accessory. Do you wear an apron when cooking and if so, is there one that is special to you?
I do wear an apron but it’s not a fancy one. Perhaps I should invest in one with the words “queen of the kitchen” and wear my crown at the same time.
Are you a sweet or savoury person?
That’s a hard one. Can I be greedy and say both? I love sushi, but my guilty pleasure is caramel-centred cupcakes. It all depends on my mood.
Who has been the biggest food influence in your life, and what is the dish they make that ]warms your heart every time?
My mother and grandmother. Again Muroho-Wa-Thanga served with steamed bread.
You come from an area in SA famous for mopane worms. Do you eat them and if so, how best do you enjoy them?
I am a proud Venda woman so I love my mashonzha, either served boiled until soft or fried in oil until crispy and dusted with salt and black pepper.
Limpopo is well known for wonderful produce like mangoes, oranges and avocadoes that are full of natural goodness. Do you believe these foods could be the building blocks of your excellent genes and mental wellbeing?
Absolutely. During my reign I plan to raise awareness about mental health issues, especially in rural and disadvantaged areas, because I believe we need to work on the mind for any change to come about in this country. One way to do this is to ensure people eat a healthy diet with a wide selection of food groups, including fruit and vegetables.
I will also continue the fight against food insecurity in rural communities because children can only be their best at school when their basic needs are met.
When you’ve had a particularly stressful day what food/snack/drink do you crave?
I try not to just reach for the carbs and consciously snack on almonds and fresh fruit.
Name two celebrity chefs/food personalities you follow on social media?
Chef Mogau Seshoene, aka The Lazy Makoti, and Siba Mtongana. We got to do a cookery class with Siba in Cape Town in the run up to the Miss SA finale and I had lunch with her this week.