Beans best before

21 10 2012

One can always get a different perspective on life from the vantage point of the toilet. I could see the remains of 2 cases of cans of beans under the spare bed in the spare room. They have been there a long time. I guess I bought them in 2008 when doing a shopping run to Johannesburg. That was the year of the crash of the Zimbabwe dollar. Food shortages abounded. The supermarket shelves were full¬† of very little spread out to make it look like a lot. All manner of people were selling basic and not so basic foodstuffs from their garages and charging illegally in hard currency. People coming back from the UK brought food and bread back in their luggage. Said a UK customs official to someone I know on seeing the bread in her hand luggage;¬† “Going back to Zimbabwe are we madam?”.

If you were down in Jo’burg it was possible to go and buy in bulk at the Woodmead Makro wholesale warehouse in the north. I did a pallet shop and ran out of money before the pallet was up to full height so it was rather expensive on the transport but I got it back to Harare with a transport company offering a specific service. Most of it was used long ago but being single I don’t go through a lot of food and the South African supermarket chains could land produce here much cheaper than the individual could once the US dollar became the currency of choice in 2009. So I rather forgot about it until just now.

The best before date on the baked beans is October last year and on the butter beans is a month ago and there is no rust on any of the cans so the contents are definitely worth investigating. This IS Zimbabwe and we don’t just throw away food because it has passed its best before date!

I do still occasionally come across wads of totally useless Zimbabwe dollars stashed away at the back of a cupboard or secreted in a suitcase. The best before dates on those was pretty much the day after I stored them (there was no point in banking them as there were limits on withdrawing cash and they devalued too fast) and no, they have no other use that even I can think of.




2 03 2009

Bob’s official birthday party took place on the weekend at Chinhoyi, a small agricultural town an hour along the Kariba/Zambia road from Harare. According to the Zimbabwe Independent the whole thing was expected to cost some 200,000 US dollars and included, amongst other things, champagne, lobsters, prawns, caviar and croissants. Talk about pearls before swine. There was none of the traditional fare of meat and sadza (cooked maize meal). I knew there was not a food crisis in Zimbabwe.