The Fenners had spent the day preparing, and as their friends arrived, they began cooking in earnest. The room filled just as the afternoon turned into evening. Three rambunctious dogs (two of Fenner's, one belonging to a friend) raced through the dining room, crashing into legs as they worked the corners. We drank beer at first, then switched to gin and tonics, then a succession of wines. Leaving guests thirsty is a cardinal sin of proper braaing. The Fenners chopped and cooked, sending waves of food into the group. The first was a platter of quartered grilled cheese sandwiches, called braaibroodjie, prepared over the open flame and served as a kind of amuse. (A proposal: Make all grilled cheese sandwiches this way.) The second: those famous boerewors, cased by Fenner himself, served in bite-size morsels with spicy chakalaka, a local pepper relish. The appetizers slowed to a halt as the Fenners plated the main courses: Karoo-raised lamb rump, as deeply herbal as promised, cooked just a shade north of rare; egg salad, touched with spice; samp and beans, a minimalist's vision of chili, just white beans and dehulled corn kernels, stewed in smoked lard until soft; and mielies, more corn (corn is big here), this time served cold in a simple, pleasing salad. Nicole and Andy took off their aprons as the grill flickered down, and found a seat. By now, everyone was a few drinks in, and the dogs, exhausted, napped on the couch. We ate slowly, lazily, and went back for seconds and thirds.