Thursday, February 07, 2008

What the *F* Is Monkey Gland Sauce?

I am feeling a bit better today after a good night's cry, long talks with Rico and my mom, and emails to my Dad. Also, thank you, my blog friends, for the emails and comments yesterday. I will write more about what happened later on in the day, as I'm supposed to go on a site visit in a few minutes...

In the meantime, to satisfy your curiosity:

This very popular South African sauce is usually eaten with steaks, though it goes well with chicken and other meats too. While no monkeys or their glands are used in the sauce's preparation, it does include just about every ingredient you could imagine inhabiting one's kitchen pantry.

I've heard several versions of the origin of monkey gland sauce, but the general idea is this: at some point, French chefs came to South Africa to cook at a fancy hotel or a prominent food festival or something along those lines. The chefs tried to impress their clients with delicately flavored haute cuisine sauces. Unfortunately, they didn't go over so well with the predominately Afrikaaner palate.

Frustrated, the French chefs decided to invent the most vile sauce imaginable and get revenge on the people so obviously incapable of appreciating fine cuisine. They threw together all of the ingredients in the kitchen - garlic, onion, fruit chutney, wine, port, vinegar, chili paste, ketchup, curry, etc. and called it monkey gland sauce as a joke. To the great surprise of the chefs, instead of becoming ill at the dubious concoction, the South Africans absolutely loved the sweet-sour taste of the new sauce, and a national tradition was born.

Like barbeque in the South, or green chile stew in New Mexico, everyone has his own special recipe for monkey gland sauce. You can find a few versions here, here and here.



Alina Popescu said...

Hi Ali, glad to read you're feeling better. I get your talk with the Marlboro guy didn't go that well. I could say I've pretty much been there a while ago if my between-the-lines reading is correct :) Drop me a line if you feel like talking. Hugs!

Marcia said...

Ali, I can't wait to hear about the Hugh Marlboro saga. At least you have Rico, your mom and dad so that you can pour out your heart.

I must say, I LOVE what you told your friends in the warehouse. I needed to hear those words because even though I coach, sometimes a bit of perspective is so good to see your own situation.

Monkeygland sauce? LOL - having grown up with it, it didn't even OCCUR to me that it was weird :) I was going to say it's like a sweetish barbeque sauce. Personally I don't like it - i like mushroom or pepper sauce on my burgers :)

Linda said...

Except for the name, it sounds rather tasty. Thanks for writing about it. Change is never easy, especially when you are at the mercy of someone else bringing it about. I hope all goes well.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

First of all, *hugs* and best of luck on wherever life takes you. You are a talented woman and I'm convinced you know that-we certainly do.

Second, I COMPLETELY sympathise with the Afrikaaner on the delicate nature of sauces...

Thanks for the update.

Ali la Loca said...

~Alina - Well, let's just say that the talk didn't go the way I'd anticipated it would. Thanks for the support - it is a crappy feeling to know that someone doesn't "want you" anymore, but honestly I think that a lot of doors have opened as a result of this conversation...maybe even some with Hugh Marlboro, now with me having the upper hand in the negotiations...more later!!

~Marcia - Yes, it certainly is a saga. It's easy to dole out advice like I did with the guys in the warehouse...difficult is taking your own advice to heart! I'm sure you relate, as this is essentially what you do as a coach.

~Linda - Yes, monkey gland sauce, according to my tastes, is really nice. And about change - I tend to thrive on it, but nonetheless, a conversatino like this comes as a blow to the ego. I'm trying to keep my head high! More details soon...

~Monkey - I also sympathize with the non-bland sauce contingent. Give me chile, curry, any kind of spice for sure! Thanks for your kind words...I will be telling the full story just as soon as I have a bit of patience to write. :)

_+*A.Elite in Paris & Montpellier*+_ said...

Ali, you will and must overcome! you are a strong personality, so if there isnt light in one tunnel, lets look at a side... but I know it's not always that easy to see when we are in the run.

As for the sauce, PETA followers might be schocked by the name !! but must be good taste, since its a blend of many good stuff :)

Bom sabado!

Beijo meu,

A Elite

Guilherme said...

Hi Ali,

Have you heard that samba? "Levanta, sacode a poeira e dá a volta por cima!"

; )