Isn’t it funny how you can recall vivid memories of your past through taste? This happened to me a few weeks ago when I made some chocolate chip cookies, just one bite brought back memories of my high school years at Lynfield College in New Zealand. It was crazy, it took me by surprise because I didn’t know that was possible. Anyway, I didn’t think much of it after that until today when the same thing happened again.
I made this traditional Zimbabwean bread my grandmother used to make a lot during my childhood years. One bite, and all these childhood memories came flooding back. The taste was so authentic, it took me back there instantly. What an amazing experience it was, absolutely mind-blowing. I hadn’t eaten it in over 15 years, and hadn’t thought of some of those memories in a very long time. I got curious about the correlation between taste and memory, so I asked professor google and discovered that I’m not crazy there’s definitely a link that scientists are still figuring out. BOOM!
Anyway, lets talk about the bread now. Where I’m from in Zimbabwe (Mutoko), we call this bread chimupotohayi. We had it for breakfast daily growing up with a deliciously sweet and tangy cup of lemon tea. Oh how I miss my childhood, it made some of my best memories. There’s not just one recipe for this bread, people make it differently with the ingredients which are readily available to them. My grandmother used to make it with flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, eggs, milk/water and oil, and it was very dense. Before making it, I had three different recipes so I used all of them including my grandmothers to create my own with new twists. It came out really well, fluffy and it tasted so good. The orange rind, coconut oil and vanilla added a beautiful flavour to the bread. Hope you enjoy it!
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup maize meal
1 cup buttermilk (see notes)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoon orange rind
Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease a baking tin and dust with some flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk oil, egg and buttermilk and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift flour, maize-meal, baking soda and salt. Add sugar and stir.
Make a well in the centre, pour the buttermilk, egg and oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well until combined.
Pour batter into the tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Note: I didn’t use baking powder because I used self-raising flour which already has baking powder but you still have to add baking soda. Also, you can make your own buttermilk by combining milk and vinegar and allowing it to sit for 5 mins. If you don’t have maize-meal, you could use semolina I think the results would be the same although I haven’t tried it yet (added to the list of things to try).