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"We celebrate local producers. We love good food. Drink too much. We cook with fire. We travel and live like there is no tomorrow."

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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Two Cowboys are Celebrating What's Right With the World

The Trap


This year has been unprecedented on so many levels. We are lost for words at the madness of 2020. It is tragic that at a time when we need each other more than ever that we are being driven apart. 

As I am writing, months since my last blog entry, we still face lockdowns, mandatory mask-wearing, travel restrictions, closed borders, business closures, event cancellations, growing unemployment, layoffs, food shortages, deficits, increased inflation, cancelled contracts, snitch-lines, social distancing, riots, and death. 

Celebrating What's Right with the World!

No, it is not a coronavirus. It is not a thing that is doing this to us, our society, and our community. It is also too easy to blame the Chinese, the politicians, or the Government. With all the adversity, we are constantly reminded about the things that are wrong with the world. Are we in this mess because of Climate change, Big Oil, Capitalism, Patriarchy, Intolerance, Income Disparity, Racism, Hate, Colonialism, Apartheid, Trump or Bigotry? 

By imparting our responsibility for our salvation to the whiffs and whims of others, we are inviting 2020 to be our world. We blame instead of respond. It is someone or something else that is responsible for making it all a mess. They are screwing it up for everyone, we say. If only there could be fewer men, less money, more credit, lower carbon, less plastic, fewer cars, higher wages, a vaccine, more tolerance, fewer people.

The fault and the solution seem to conveniently be just out of reach - to be found elsewhere. You get the picture! 

Escape to '21


Why has it then become so incredibly challenging to recognize what is right with the world?

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, our world is in large part the product of our thoughts and perception. We have the power to define our experiences and responses to the things around us. We contribute to our collective bubbles - our community, town, Province and Country. 

How we interpret our circumstances creates our reality and influences the behaviour of those around us. Yes, we are doing 2020 in large part to ourselves because we tolerate it. We are the dreaded virus. Unwittingly, we are also doing it to each other. 

The bad news is that we will remain trapped for as long as we continue to listen to the echo chambers of society's zombie hums of despair. Endorphin tapping amplifiers of desperation (referred to comically as "social media") will continue to milk our time and attention for calamity. It happens while we become more disconnected, separated from our friends, from our community, our partners, and even our children.

With a small shift in our perception, we should be able to recognize and create beauty again. We should be able to restore hope in the future. Trust our neighbour's intentions. With a simple decision, we can commit to extending the liberty we expect for ourselves, to each other. We can sidestep blame and engage for prosperity.

We need not look elsewhere for a new or better world. We have the mental power within us to make the call. We've had it all along within our grasp. The place to start is with ourselves. A simple decision of "No more!".

Nothing will change until something changes. Then, hit the uninstall button. Save yourself. 

Disconnect to connect. 

Share a Meal


For eons, food brought people together. We survived by pooling our resources for a meal. We joined forces with neighbours for safety and formed friendships around a fire. The moment we became human was when we shared a meal. This is where we will reconnect. 

By cooking and eating together again we can change the world for ourselves and for others. Going back to the beginning around a fire should be the best place to make new connections. It is where we can begin again to recognize what is right with the world. 

That is why the Two Cowboys encourage you to Eat, Drink and Live. Create a better future for yourself and for your community. Cook. Share. Invite family and friends to join. Meet strangers. Recognize what is right with the world. 

Welcome to tomorrow!

Hendrik
Cowboy Nouveau

Photos

Two Cowboys HQ

Cooking with Fire

A Feast



Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cabin Fever in the Ou Transvaal - Cowboys Cooking with Acacia BBQ

Cabin Fever Remedies


January and February are cold months in Canada. By the time late-February rolls around, Canadians are grumpy. Cabin fever sets. Children and old people go missing. Ice Hockey referees resign, and parents get violent. Strange things that happen in the winter lands of ice and snow.

We've been living in Canada for 12 winters now. Every year we are still astounded to see just how much of an influence the winter blues have on people around us. Many lucky ones escape to warmer climates. Popular destinations include Mexico, the Southern United States, and a few lucky ones make it Downunder or to our homelands - Southern Africa.

This year we stayed home under our blanket of white. To counter cabin fever, we relied on our diligent preparation and applied remedies that didn't involve children, violence, sticks, or rock hard rubber disks. We saved items and happy thoughts for the occasion. Some things we used as crutch included a little Mieliepap, Old Brown Sherry, a few vintage Peppermint Crisps, Dry Wors, Jelly Tots, and some frozen slivers of Biltong.

Then we remembered our African lump charcoal from Acacia BBQ. Willie, one of the owners, left us a stash in the Fall with a mini-braai before he himself escaped to warmer climates. What a happy discovery!


DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


The Bushveld Smell



Why bring Charcoal from the other side of the world to Canada?

Honestly, unless your first breath in this life was that of a Bushveld Braavleis fire, you will be hard-pressed to follow the logic. In reality, charcoal is a lightweight black carbon residue produced by removing water and other volatile constituents from plant materials (Wikipedia).

Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis - the heating of wood or other organic materials in the absence of oxygen. The advantage of burning charcoal, compared to burning wood, is the absence of water and other components. This allows charcoal to burn at higher temperatures, and give off very little smoke ("...regular wood can release a significant amount of steam, organic volatiles, and unburnt carbon particles - soot - in its smoke when it is not burned completely."). The end result is the solid-state of the one thing that drives the hysteria and New-World religion - carbon. Burn it, and you have pure carbon monoxide - plant food!

The charcoal you buy for your local BBQ or Braai at your supply store is close to, but not pure lumps of carbon. Where the mass and weight of the material is concerned, one chunk of plant material-derived carbon is much like the next. However, not all plant material is destroyed in the manufacturing process. There remains a faint memory of the origins of the wood due to some unburned content and volatiles. These are the remnants that impart the particular characteristics that differentiate Oak derived charcoal from Muskeet, Applewood, or in the case of Acacia BBQ, African hardwoods.

That is why a bag of Royal Oak differs from Kingfords, Canadian Maple, and the rest. The mass and density set the temperature, and the time it burns (hence briquettes are very similar in performance). The unburned material and volatiles impart the flavour. It is this flavour of the Bushveld smoke that took us home when we lit our first box of Acacia BBQ charcoal on a little Easy Grill.

Acacia BBQ charcoal is a product of HB’s Premium Char Imports Ltd. It is available in Canada and the USA. The charcoal they import is the result of 10 years of trials and tribulations to realize the dream of a family business.  Acacia BBQ searched all over Southern Africa to find producers that would bring the “braai” (BBQ) experience of Africa to North America.  They are conservation-minded and source the materials sustainably while remaining sensitive to the socio-economic issues and opportunities of Africa.

Observations


If you haven't breathed the Bushveld, then you will be forgiven for considering the Acacia BBQ product, just another premium lump charcoal. Burn-time and temperature don't set it apart, and you will be forgiven for thinking it is expensive. Remember, it did come from halfway around the world.

It is the flavour that sets it apart! We consider the profile baby perfume-like. Yes, we are biased because our memory receptors are triggered to take us to our happy place - a bushveld fire, the sun setting, jackals howling in the background, and a "tjoppie" sizzling on the braai (grill), fueled by African hardwoods.

We thank Willie and Acacia BBQ for this huge present at a time we needed it most. He gave us another glimpse of heaven and reminded us of where we came from. This is our Valhalla!

It made -25C a little bearable this time around. We escaped Cabin Fever for another year. If you want the smell of Africa for your meat, then cook with Acacia BBQ. That is why we do it.

Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy

Photos


Christmas Box!

Little Fire!

Eazy Grill

Wors!

Cooking with Fire