Mpho Tshukudu and Anna Trapido combine their respective expertise on Eat Ting.
While the battle of the bulge remains a frustration for many, dietitian Mpho Tshukudu and food anthropologist Anna Trapido provide healthy eating solutions with Eat Ting.

Sometimes paths cross for a reason. Anna Trapido used to do a food slot on Jenny Crwys-Williams’s show on Talk Radio 702. She is a trained chef and author of Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela.

Mpho Tshukudu, a registered dietitian, was a fan of the show and got in touch with her.

Mpho Tshukudu and Anna Trapido combine their respective expertise on Eat Ting.

She recalls: “Anna would talk about food so beautifully that you would want to eat. She did not put labels like fattening or bad on things. I could relate to her and reached out because I wanted to explore African foods, culture and nutrition, and use them in functional nutrition diets. I was tired of making people fit into skinny jeans - that’s what I said in the e-mail.”

On her career choice, Tshukudu says: “I have always loved science and started playing with food (cooking) from a young age. I was happy to merge two of my favourite things with my choice in profession. For me, a healthy lifestyle comes easy Through my studies and career, my favourite topic has been the use of specific nutritional compounds in foods to prevent and treat diseases.”

During her research, she stumbled on a realisation, too.

She reveals: “When studying functional medicine, I started to research indigenous Southern African foods, their nutritional value and preparation methods.

“I then connected the dots and realised that all the international health trends such as gluten-free, free-range, organic, vegan and low GI have always been there in African diets; we just did not describe them using medical and fancy terminology that appeals to young people who are health conscious and those needing nutritional solutions for their health concerns.”

In this book, Trapido calls herself “a dietitian’s worst nightmare”. That said, in joining forces with Tshukudu she has gone on to take her advice and, in doing so, has lost weight.

The food anthropologist says: “I do all the things that get in the way of being mindful about portion size. I cook with a glass of wine in my hand and sample as I go.

“Offering up plates of food is my way of saying: ‘I love you’. Plus I am not a natural gym person. I am very admiring of the way that sensible behaviour around food and exercise comes naturally to Mpho, but that’s not me.

“The lovely thing about Mpho is that she is not judgemental about other people’s failings in this regard. She is a very clear teacher. So, while I am a very bad student, I do now understand the principles of nutrition in a way that has been helpful.”

Eat Ting is very much a collaborative process between the two of them.

Trapido says: “Together, our expertise provides a 360º picture of who we are as South Africans, through what we eat.

“There were some recipes that we both loved that didn’t make the cut simply because of page space restrictions, but there is always next time.”

Tshukudu says: “Anna is a chef, so she cooks beautiful tasty foods, while I am concerned about preserving nutrition compounds and making the liver healthy.”

Looking into the inspiration and source of the recipes, Trapido notes: “The recipes came from a range of inspirations and sources.

“We interviewed many different South Africans, old and young, about how they eat, what they eat and why they eat.

“Many of the recipes were inspired by recollections that grandmothers had of dishes that they had eaten as a child.

“Some we included as classic recipes exactly as described by the elders. Others have been given a modern tweak.

“Always the recipes in our book were influenced by the beauty and generosity of the South African landscape and our indigenous ingredients.”

Eat Ting is published by Quivertree Publications and retails at R320.