In March 2017, 10 hard working and interesting men from South Africa got employment visas and traveled from their far-away homes to MacFarlane Farms. They certainly fulfilled MacFarlane’s need for workers and everyone gained valuable cultural experiences. Thanks, guys!
Gerhardus Martunis Venter
With that in mind, during a traditional Thanksgiving experience at the MacFarlane’s home, the men were discussing foods they missed most from their homes. A “proper” Braii was at the top of the list. A Braii is a cook-out! The guys explained that a “proper” Braii does not use gas or a charcoal grill, though. A Braii is made with a huge bonfire and meat is placed on a grate over the fire, when the coals are hot enough. Our South African friends were at the right place because Bill and Dori have an outdoor fire pit!
When Bill and Dori MacFarlane asked the South African guests if they would like to have a Braii at the MacFarlane home, they were ecstatic and immediately volunteered to provide the meat. A date was set and plans were put in place, including inviting Sarah Pope, Brad Lillie, Chris Theisen, Brian Klein, and Troy Cisewski to join in the fun.
The guys explained that a Braii always features lamb, but also includes several other kinds of meat. Side dishes are not valued at a Braii. In fact, the only side dish was a Greek salad because Ronnie Viljoen’s Mom suggested it!
The day of the Braii arrived and the temperature was zero. Camping chairs were brought in because the swings surrounding the fire pit were too far away from the warmth of the fire. Ronnie and Martunis arrived first and with a little help from Micah Boyd, they got the fire started. The fire was going strong when the rest of the guys arrived.
Coolers of meat arrived with them. Johan brought his guitar and played and sang while everyone else cozied up to the fire. He started with American songs but was soon asked for some traditional South African music. The party heated up when others joined in the singing to traditional South African songs. What a great way to stay warm! Eventually, Johan put his guitar away and they played traditional music on the Bluetooth speaker, while everyone chatted.
After being outside in zero degrees weather for several hours, the coals were finally hot enough to cook, ribs, tenderloin, chicken, steak, and brats. Dori said, “Maybe there were more kinds of meat but, honestly, I lost track! We were having so much fun.” In addition to all that meat, Johan and Len made Braiibroodjie, which is a South African grilled cheese with tomatoes, sliced onion, and apricot jam in it. Traditionally chutney is used in the sandwich, but they just couldn’t find any, locally.
Under normal circumstances (warmer weather), this meal would be eaten family style, outside, but for this meal, when the cooking was done, all 20 people ate family style in the house. It was just too cold, as the fire began to die down. Bill and Dori said there was enough food for 100 people and the meal and company made the whole experience an unforgettable night.
What a delightful way to end the 10 months these South African men were a part of the MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. family.