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South African Rusks

Rusks are somewhat of a traditional snack in South Africa. Rusks dipped in a cup of coffee are typical of a lazy afternoon snack, ranking right up there with melktert (milk tart). There are various home made varieties of rusks, ranging from whole wheat to those made from white flour.

Expatriates looking for South African rusks in Britain are often delighted to find “Ouma Rusks,” a brand of rusks available in South African shops, but now also available in “South African” shops around Britain. Wherever you are in the UK, a quick Google search for a “South African shop” will probably point you in the direction of one not too far from you. You can therefore enjoy foods from South Africa even when outside of the country.

These little shops stock a variety of treats from South African rusks to Mrs Balls Chutney; a sweet fruit sauce for meats. You may even be able to find South African sausage, or “boerewors” and possibly some Maltabella porridge.

Getting back to South African rusks, they are easy to make in a oven at home and there are numerous recipes on the internet which will help you along. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy rusks with raisins embedded in the dough, and the more health concious can use whole wheat flour to bake a high fibre nutritional snack.

As described above, the correct way to eat rusks is by dipping them in a cup of tea or coffee. This requires a bit of practice, as you do not want to hold the rusk in the coffee for too long, or you risk making the rusk so soggy that it will break off into your cup. You want to grip the rusk between finger and thumb and dunk twice before lifting it out and taking a bite. Of course the amount of dunking required depends on the density of the rusk, so you will have to experiment. Keep a teaspoon handy for fishing out broken off bits of rusk!

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