While I was in South Africa I experienced a lot of different traditions. One of them, and probably the most significant one, is that of a braai. A braai is basically a barbecue – except so much better.

Instead of using a grill, they cook the meat over a fire. Honestly I don’t even know how it works, but it’s like all the flavor is locked inside the meat. It doesn’t dry out, and the meat is perfectly done.

Weirdly enough though, and this is the part I couldn’t quite understand, they don’t braai hamburgers or hotdogs. For the most part it’s chicken or lamb, sometimes steak.

A braai is a way for family and friends to come together. They occur far more often than our barbecues. I was there for five weeks and we must have had four or five braais, if not more.

The friends and family come over, and while the meat is cooking, the kids play around in the yard and the adults sit and talk. It’s a chance for everyone to connect. And once the food is done, everyone sits down together and eats until they’re absolutely stuffed.

At least that’s what I did.

I thought it was a great tradition. We should definitely have more traditions like that back home in the states. I brought my dad home a braai cookbook, so hopefully we’ll be having our own little braai back home in Aspen, Colorado sometime soon.


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