Africa-Press – Eswatini. Edladleni Restaurant Founder Dolores Godeffroy has been honoured by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

One of Godeffroy’s recipes, Eswatini Coconut Fish with sweet potato and umbhidvo, has been featured on Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Cookbook.

The cookbook celebrates 70 years of the Queen’s historic reign. It features 70 recipes from British embassies and high commissions from across the world. Eswatini was not left out.

Many of the recipes included have actually been served during royal visits to various nations. Included in the book is a selection of anecdotes from diplomatic dinners over the years.

Godeffroy was presented with a copy of the Queen’s Cookbook by the High Commissioner to Eswatini Simon Boyden.

The high commissioner said the recipe was served in myriad ways throughout the diplomatic network, landing itself as it does to using local ingredients while staying true to its British roots.

“Local restaurant eDladleni promotes the cultivation of indigenous crops to help local communities maintain small scale but profitable production. To celebrate the re-opening of the British High Commission in Eswatini, we asked Chef Dolores, to prepare dishes to reflect the relationship the two countries have,” said the high commissioner.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall wrote a foreword for the Platinum Jubilee cookbook. They said; “As we come together as a nation, in the realms, and across the Commonwealth to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, food will no doubt play a central part in our public and private celebrations. We only hope that this book provides you with both pleasure and inspiration, and that food continues to bring you together with family, friends, neighbours and your community.”

Chef Godeffroy said she was elated by this gesture, adding that she did not know about this before she was formally presented with the cookbook by the High Commissioner to Eswatini Simon Boyden a week ago.

“It was a pleasant surprise. I was called from the kitchen not knowing that I would be receiving this kind of a gift,” said the renowned chef.

Godeffroy will stop at nothing to see Eswatini regaining its rightful place in the hearts and minds of local people. In an interview, she said indigenous food must be exposed to international countries. Being featured on such a prestigious cookbook was a good start, she said. As an indigenous food activist, Godeffroy advised Emaswati to go back to their roots and eat African food cuisines because of its health benefits. She said it was a pity that most of her clients/customers of eDladleni Restaurant were mainly tourists and less Emaswati. She said this was however, disturbing as she could not understand why Emaswati were shying away from their roots.

“Our diets have changed drastically over the decades from what our forefathers ate.

Eswatini, like many other nations, has experienced the mass importation of the Western diet which is characterised by higher intakes of red and processed meat, butter, high-fat dairy products, eggs, highly processed foods, fast food, and high-sugar drinks,” said the celebrated chef.

“These diets bring with it diseases that were historically rare but now abound: diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and atherosclerosis. Every single nation, community, indigenous group that has had their traditional diet replaced with the Western diet have shown the exact same change in disease profile,” she added.

Godeffroy said the evidence was irrefutable, by abandoning traditional foods and eating patterns (maize and millet, leafy vegetables, roots, fruit and only small amounts of dairy and meat) had abandoned the health of the children.

‘Retailers should support small-scale farmers, not import indigenous food’

Food activist Dolores Godeffroy has urged retailers in Eswatini to support small scale famers and vendors that sell indigenous food.

She said this would curb the importation of such foods and that farmers would have a stable income.

“We have a number of small scale farmers and their produce is quite good and ready for consumption with healthy benefits.

“It is really sad that you find retailers selling imported roots such as bhatata or vegetables leaves such as spinach or ligusha (Corchorus tridens in latin name) yet we have farmers who are good at this,” said Godeffroy.

She added that it was a sorry sight to not even get indigenous food in shops which are mostly organic.

“Of course these days one cannot have a discussion about food and farming without talking about the impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There are two key issues to consider when examining the GMO debate.

“There is the question of health and the question of food autonomy. Human beings have been domesticating and growing plants for thousands of years using selective breeding,” she said.

The food activist highlighted that this had allowed Eswatini to cultivate foods with denser nutritional value and more resistance to the particular challenges of the region they are grown in.

She said genetically modifying indigenous food was a step further in this direction, allowing for manipulation of plants on the genetic level to introduce traits that could never be bred in naturally.

“While this field of science is promising, these products have not been around long enough to fully understand the long term ramifications on human health,” she said.

Furthermore, she urged local citizens to use their land and grow and sell indigenous food. She emphasized that these foods were still available in remote areas and that they need to be consumed by most people to reduce the number of imported food into the country.

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