Be Prepared for Life

Activity Kit Three:
"Food for Life"

Part 3. Preparing food for eating


Being able to get and store food are skills indeed - but being able to eat it may require others. Being able to prepare the food is just as important. Many of our food plants are indigestible unless they are cooked first. Cooking means fuel and stoves [See Kit 1 - Project 5 and Kit 2 - Project 4]. Flames are good for boiling water but coal beds are needed for sustained heating. Cooking means recipes and knowledge.


Project 12: Build a stove

To design and build your own stove can be a useful and valuable start to cooking food. Only a few ideas can be suggested here for more ideas see Veldlore scrapbook No. 3 Camp cooking. The stove will depend on what materials are available to build it. It should include an oven and a pot or billy-can heating space.


For many Africans cooking food means finding, chopping, and carrying wood to the fire place.
Each day the search takes longer, the forests and bushes retreat further and we are poorer...Why?

Because a world without trees is a dying world!

  • There is less wood for building.
  • There is less soil for planting.
  • There is less shade for resting in.
  • There is less protection from the wind.
  • There is less fuel to cook food.
  • There is more hunger.
And there is also...

less oxygen to breathe, less shelter for birds and animals, less rainfall, fewer streams, fewer plants and less food.

Any stove that uses less wood to do the same work is a better stove. Today millions of African families are using conservation stoves which help to save the trees and build the strength of the whole community.
Is your stove a conservation stove?

Project 14: Some African meals

Nature's food is unrefined, full of food value and good to eat. Most traditional African recipes are based on dishes prepared from green maize [mealies], porridges, grain stews, vegetables, and beans with meat. [See: Funa - Food from Africa; there are many other well known scout recipes in Veldlore Scrapbook No. 3]. Why not have African menu meal?


  • Boiled in salty water for 20 minutes.
    Spread butter on hot cobs and eat.
  • Yellow mealies roasted on the hot coals till the seeds are brown. Serve without salt
  • Ripe or soaked mealie seeds toasted at high temperatures in a pot like popcorn.
  • Samp, soaked overnight in water, boiled for 2 hours, with salt and butter added before eating.


  • Thick porridge - Stywe pap
    2 parts mealie meal to 1 part boiling water - cook for 10 minutes, stir well, cook for another 30 minutes. Serve with sausage and gravy or tomatoes and onion sauce.
  • Thin porridge - Slap pap
    1 part mealie meal to 4 or 5 parts of water - add meal to boiling water stirring for 20 minutes.
    Serve with sugar, butter and fresh milk.


  • 1 part dry mealie seeds
    1 part dry sorghum seeds
    6 parts water and salt to taste.
    Simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
    Serve with sausage and gravy.
  • Cook pumpkin slices till tender, add to stiff mealie meal porridge.
    Stir till mixed together, add salt to taste.


  • Young pumpkin shoots, flowers or soft leaves.
    Boil till soft and tender, adding salt.
    Serve alone or mixed into mealie porridge.
  • 10 parts of dry pumpkin seeds
    1 part of salt.
    Wash seeds and add to hot dry pot sprinkling with salt and stirring continuously.
    Heat until the seeds crack [5 minutes].


  • 125 g beans and 125 g samp soaked overnight
    500 g cubed beef
    1 onion, 1 green pepper and 2 tomatoes chopped.
    Salt pepper and lemon juice to taste.
    Boil beans and samp for 3 hours separately.
    Brown the meat and onions together, add the rest of the ingredients, with salt and pepper, till cooked.
    Now add cooked beans and samp and mix together adding lemon juice to taste.
  • Boil beans for 2 to 3 hours, add salt when cooked.
    Serve as a side dish to thick porridge.
  • 2 parts samp, 1 part beans, 1 part raw peanuts, 1 part roasted peanuts. Salt to taste.
    Soak samp and beans overnight. Boil in fresh water for one hour. Add raw peanuts and boil till soft.
    Stir in the roasted peanuts and mix well. Add salt.
    Simmer for 15 minutes.

Meat can either be added to these vegetable dishes or roasted on the fire separately.

This is a very healthy and economical way of eating. In most cases our food bought from shops is processed in some way. This means that it may have had artificial colours, bleaches, flavours, preservatives, and other chemicals added to it to lengthen its shelf life and make it look attractive, - even something as innocent as bread. This may make the food less nutritious and even dangerous.

Natural foods... home grown or at least fresh, have...

more nutrients [food value],
natural flavours and colours,
less water, more vitamins,
no dangerous additives.

If you buy all your food from a shop then you eat between 5 and 7 kilograms of food additives each year, this is one of the reasons why so many more people seem to have food related allergies these days. The skills in this kit should enable you to eat more food, healthy food, fresher food, and more meat rather than fat, and to avoid some harmful artificial chemical additives.

Food is life
Getting it, storing it and cooking it
Earth caring action is food action

In our next kit
we will learn why...

© Copyright 1991 - 1994
Dr Frank Opie for the South African Scout Association