Posted by: nancycurteman | July 12, 2013

Cape Town Food Specialties in “Murder Casts a Spell”

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Recently I wrote a piece on the South African foods my characters experienced in my soon to be released novel, “Murder Casts a Spell.” The interest on Facebook and Twitter motivated me to add the other foods referenced in the novel. So, here are some more Cape Town specialty foods my characters enjoyed.

Pap is fluffy porridge made from maize meal. It is a staple food among the Xhosa people. Mieliepap, a breakfast porridge is the type of pap two of my characters, Lysi and Grace, tasted at Sara’s Bed and Breakfast in impoverished Ikhaya Township.

th-1Sorghum beer is a brownish-pink South African beverage with a fruity, sour taste. It’s the beer Grace Wright drank in the shebeen in Ikhaya Township.


Bobotie is like meatloaf with raisins and baked egg on top, and is often served with yellow rice. It is sometimes described as a South African moussaka. Bobotie is a favorite of Amele Butshingi, Grace’s college roommate who lives in Cape Town.

Rusks are rectangular, hard biscuits eaten by dunking them in South African rooibos tea. Lysi and Maynard try them for the first time at the Butshingi home.

Boerewors is a thick sausage that is traditionally braaied (barbecued). It’s made from coarsely minced beef or pork and spices then formed into a continuous spiral. The Butshingi family serves it to characters Detective Maynard Christie, Grace and Lysi. Amele lives in Cape Town and was Grace’s college roommate.

th-10It’s fun to read mysteries and unravel the puzzles they present, but it’s an added bonus to learn about different cultures and the foods they love.

More Tips:

Great Cape Town African Restaurant: Marco’s African Place

A Khayelitsha Shebeen


  1. What a great way to incorporate cultural information. Thank you! xoA


    • Thanks Annis. I will also have recipes for some of the dishes in the back of my novel. See you soon.


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