TTS22 Group photo

Monday, September 2, 2013

Potjie (Iron Chef) Cook Off

Classes, Cook -offs and Recreating!  TTS22 is bustling with activity while forming as a group.  Classes started this week and everyone is adjusting to using pens/pencils and paper and referring to resource books and thesauruses instead of hitting an ON button.
Let's see - here's a little rundown of last week's happenings:

Sunday - orientation, games and bonding time. 

Monday - wakie! wakie!  Eggs and Bakey!  But before breakfast the girls had a cardio PE class.  And after a hearty breakfast, it was time for the first full class day!

Tuesday- Youth challenge course solving problems in small teams.

Wednesday - Back to class.  Back to class, back to class TTS22 goes with crazy creeks and eagle creeks.

Thursday - Yahoo! Ziplining through the canyon - over waterfalls and under the canopy they went!  Screams and laughter echoes throughout the air.  The girls then competed in a little friendly cook-off with the Southern Cross School.  TTS18 connected with Southern Cross, a boarding school near Kruger Park, and have remained friends of the school since.  Your girls will visit the school the next week to see their campus and possibly discover which bushes they can use as toothpaste in the African bush.

The cook-off was in cook groups of about 7 people - so 3 TTS teams  and 2 Southern Cross teams.  Each group had to slice and dice veggies and then cook in potjies with just the right flavor combination.  (I put an explanation below to try to help explain the Afrikaaner barbeque (braai) tradition.)  Sounds like it was quite the cook-off and there were no clear winners- but you might have to double check this with your daughter when you chat next week. :)

The girls also practiced re-packing their duffel bags and shifting tents this week to shuffle things around and let them get to know other girls.

Friday - another day of classes!  Followed by an evening around the fire.

Next adventure - seeing Big Blue roll through the gates, meeting Ngwenya and Mvuu (driver and cook) and eventually heading off in their new home on wheels.

Stay tuned for an update from the field - teachers are waiting for internet to post some stories of their adventure.

Enjoy your Monday!


 springtime flowers
 a hint of truck life

A Potjie is Cookware descended from Dutch Ovens
In South Africa, a potjie (pronounced /poiki:/), directly translated "small pot" from Afrikaans, is a traditional round, cast iron, three-legged (tripod) pot. It is similar in appearance to a cauldron and is usually black. It is used to cook potjiekos over an open fire.
Among the South African tribes these pots also became known as phutu pots.
Potjie can also refer to the technique of cooking potjiekos. This tradition originated in the Netherlands during the Seige of Leiden and was brought to South Africa by Dutch immigrants. It persisted over the years with the Voortrekkers and survives today as a traditional Afrikaner method of cooking.
The story of the legendary three-legged, potbellied cast-iron pot is as old as the Iron Age, when man first learned to cast liquid iron into vessels of different shapes for a variety of purposes. But the potjie wasn't always used for noble purposes, as is clearly illustrated in the cartoons depicting cannibals and warriors from Africa, Guinea and the South China Sea who cooked their captives in what's known as Guinea kettles or missionary pots over an open fire.
Also, around 1500 BC witches and druids used huge black pots as part of their rituals and ceremonies. To this day, they're bought by the Wicca all over the world.
The history of the South African potjie started in Holland somewhere between 1566 to 1648 during the war between the Netherlands and Spain. During the siege of Leyden food was scarce and town people contributed what meagre morsels they had into a large communal pot and cooked it all together. Today in Holland, hutspot (housepot) is still cooked at the annual commemoration day of the "Siege of Leiden". The various types of hotpot found today are similar dishes where meat and vegetables are cooked in layers and never stirred.
The potjie made its way to Africa along with Dutch settlers, who then took it with them on the Great Trek. From there early explorers used these cooking vessels exclusively on their expeditions into the interior and each family had at least two potjies, a round one for meat, and a flat one (Dutch oven) for bread. It was during this period that the tribal Africans realised the practical uses of the pots and traded animal hides and other commodities for them, replacing their clay pots that were used for cooking.
Among the African tribal cultures these pots became known as "phutu" pots. The black cast-iron potjie has survived the test of time and is used extensively in Africa by almost all cultures. With the advent of electricity, the potjie was all but forgotten in South Africa, but some 30 years ago it enjoyed a huge revival, and today is as valued a cooking utensil as the pressure cooker and microwave oven.


  1. Sounds like they are off to a great start of the semester! I am so glad they are jumping right into the African culture...and as much as I miss the communication...I am glad they are technology free! Back to basics is the way to go. Thanks for the update. Happy travels! - darby

  2. Great to have an update today. I am looking forward to the first phone call. I appreciate the process of requiring time to bond as a newly formed group.

  3. Thanks so much for the update and details of their experiences with cooking. It's hard to imagine the girls have already been away nearly 2 weeks! We too look forward to getting a call and hearing firsthand from Ariela about her new friends, school life on the road, adventures, and everything else. Please keep those posts coming; we look forward to getting them! All the best to the TTS staff and families around the country, Rebecca and Andres

  4. Love the updates! What an incredible experience for both the students and the teachers. Can't wait for my phone call either!

  5. Thanks for the update, we loved hearing about what the girls are up to. Keep them coming. Josh and Debby Greene

  6. Sarah called this morning and said the food was really good! She is still noticing how everything is so different but she truly enjoys everyone in the group! Of course her favorites were the zip lining and "so many animals!!"