I once read that the arrival of tea on
I, myself, have married into a celebrated homebrew tradition. My husband hails from the foothills of
With a lot of help from our housekeeper, Dorothy, this weekend we brewed chikokiyana, or one-day beer. I’m not going to write up a proper recipe (really, who among you is going to try this?), but here, for your reference, is the basic idea.
First you bring about eight cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, you mix together four wooden spoonfuls of mealie meal (the finely ground cornmeal used to make sadza) with some water to make a thin gruel. Stir, breaking up any lumps, and then pour the paste into the boiling water. Stir again, partially cover, turn the heat down to medium-high, and keep the pot at a low boil for 15 minutes.
Let the gruel cool for about five minutes, and then add another four cups or so of cold water. Stir once again to break up any lumps. Next, pour the mixture into your pfuko – the traditional round, chevron-decorated bowl with a narrow neck that is used just for this purpose. In a small bowl, mix together ½ cup raw sugar, ½ cup active dry yeast and 1½ cups chimera (fermented ground millet, or zviyo). Add to the pfuko and stir. Cover, and let sit in a warm place overnight.
Twenty-four hours later, remove the cover and watch the beer’s effervescent bubbles sputter and pop. Give the brew a stir, and then drink it straight from the pfuku. Or, if you are me, pour yourself a small glass. Chikokiyana is gritty, sour and yeasty – in other words, an extremely acquired taste. I could only get down about three sips; my husband four. Dorothy’s cousin downed the rest during the course of one day.
Apparently, you can also make a non-alcoholic version of this beverage, called mahewu by simply omitting the yeast. There is also a version of beer that is brewed for seven days and that, we hear, tastes a good bit milder than chikokiyana. I think I’ll stick to moonshine. And stay away from heavy machinery.
*Note: In keeping with the spirit of this post, I wrote it having drunk two beers (