Zimbabwean cuisine carries the history of Portuguese cuisine since the Portuguese were the one who traded peanuts into the country in the 16th century. As a result many recipes are made of peanuts. The British colonizers have also influenced its food and customs leaving lasting effects on the foods eaten in the country to this day. Spices, bread, sugar, and tea have become part of the food culture, in addition to the indigenous crops of yams, corn, pumpkins, squash, and papaya. Meats tend to be local game, crocodile, impala, kudu, goat, chicken, and beef. People live on staples like corn, cassava, millet, pumpkin and yams. Some popular dishes are salted peanuts, corn meal with pumpkin, and peanut butter stew
Though bread and rice are eaten in some parts of the country, maize/corn is the staple food for many Zimbabweans. The corn is ground into maize flour (called mealie-meal), which is used to make thick porridges. Mealie-meal is called "Sadza" in the local language. This is eaten with stewed vegetables and meats or dried fish. The "sadza" also serves as a ‘utensil’ of sorts. It is thick enough to shape with the hands, scoop up the stewed meats and vegetables, also known as relish, and pop into your mouth. "Sadza" is not reserved for just savory lunch or dinner, it may also be eaten for breakfast with the addition of milk, sugar, peanut butter, or jam. The word "sadza" may also refer to the entire meal itself, not just the thick cornmeal dish. Where food is plentiful, porridges are served with vegetables or meat. Onions, tomatoes and groundnuts/peanuts are often used for sauces.
In the more well off urban areas people have adopted some English customs. For instance they will eat porridge at breakfast in the morning and drink midday tea, also known as 10 o'clock tea. They eat lunch, which may be food remaining from the previous night, newly boiled “sadza”, or sandwiches (mainly eaten in the cities). After lunch, there is normally 4 o'clock tea that is served before dinner. It is common for tea to be drunk after dinner.