Memories

“Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.”

Says Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

Dr Zeuss

My father-in-law is writing his memoirs and I can’t wait to read them!

“How do you remember all the places and names and details?” I asked him.

“You’d be surprised what comes to mind when you start digging around in the past. You open a drawer, look through a photo album, talk to an old friend, read a letter…” he replied.

Now I know what he means. Continue reading Memories

Eating with your fingers

“Natalie was nervous because I had explained that she would be treated differently because she was white, that she would have to work harder than other girls to gain my parents’ trust. And so they devised a plan: We agreed that on the first meeting my wife would not accept tea, she would instead make tea in the home of my parents. With that gesture, she showed that she did not have a superiority complex, that she was willing to make a gesture, however small, to gain acceptance.”

MMUSI MAIMANE Prophet or Puppet? by S’Thembiso Msomi

Ethiopian restaurantThere is a story that I’ve not been able to verify unequivocally, but which seems to be accepted as a fact:

On a visit to America some time in the 1800’s, Queen Victoria changed etiquette rules forevermore, by picking up a chicken wing with her fingers and eating it thus. Whether she saw this as a more efficient way to handle a chicken wing, or that it was preferable in the name of diplomacy to do as the Americans did, we will never know. Continue reading Eating with your fingers

Umngqusho: the taste of South African winter

samp and beans
Traditional umngqusho – yummy and simple.

“Recipe for Murder:
1 stocky man who abuses his wife, 1 small tender wife, 1 medium-sized tough woman in love with the wife, 1 double-barrelled shotgun, 1 small Karoo town marinated in secrets, 3 bottles of Klipdrift brandy, 3 little ducks, 1 bottle of pomegranate juice, 1 handful of chilli peppers, 1 mild gardener, 1 fire poker, 1 red-hot New Yorker, 7 Seventh-day Adventists (prepared for The End of the World), 1 hard-boiled investigative journalist, 1 soft amateur detective, 2 cool policemen, 1 lamb, 1 handful of red herrings and suspects mixed together, Pinch of greed.

Throw all the ingredients into a big pot and simmer slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few years. Add the ducks, chillies and brandy towards the end and turn up the heat.”

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

While visiting my parents in South Africa I asked a local Xhosa lady in the village to give me a masterclass in making real South African umngqusho. It’s a South African staple among the Xhosa people – extending in its varieties to all the other Bantu tribes. It was said to be Nelson Mandela’s favourite dish. I grew up on my nanny’s umngqusho, also called ‘samp and beans’, and it’s a meal I often long for – so let’s just say it’s a recipe that warms not just the tummy, but the heart. Continue reading Umngqusho: the taste of South African winter

Coffee: the opiate of the masses?

Lopez and Sons Coffee
Lopez and Sons Coffee

Joe Fox: Do you know what? We are going to seduce them. We’re going to seduce them with our square footage, and our discounts, and our deep armchairs, and…
Kevin: Our cappuccinos!
Joe Fox: That’s right. They’re going to hate us at the beginning, but…
Kevin: … we’ll get ’em in the end.
Joe Fox: Do you know why?
Kevin: Why?
Joe Fox: Because we’re going to sell them cheap books and legal addictive stimulants. 

You’ve Got Mail screenplay by Nora Ephron Continue reading Coffee: the opiate of the masses?

Salem and Boston: American cultural saturation, witches and baseball

“We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Salem, Massachusetts

Bewitched in SalemIn summary, Arthur Miller’s play is a classic parable of mass hysteria drawing a frightening parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 and the McCarthyism Cold War fears of 1950s America.

Set in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts, the townspeople are stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and hatred, culminating in the wrongful sentencing to death of 20 people for the crime of witchcraft. Continue reading Salem and Boston: American cultural saturation, witches and baseball

Foodie

“We might treat a rabbit as a pet or become emotionally attached to a goose, but we had come from cities and supermarkets, where flesh was hygienically distanced from any resemblance to living creatures. A shrink-wrapped pork chop has a sanitised, abstract appearance that has nothing whatsoever to do with the warm, mucky bulk of a pig. Out here in the country there is no avoiding the direct link between death and dinner…” 

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

I am a ‘wannabe’ foodie, but unsurprisingly making little effort to get the esteemed status. There, I’ve said it. Living in a city where you can go out for three meals a day for the rest of your life and never exhaust the options, some will consider my opening admission simply disgraceful. I’m sorry 😦

Continue reading Foodie

The kindness of a good Hubby

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.”

The Bible, Proverbs 30:18-19

Kindness

Sometimes it’s the small kindnesses that touch me deeper that the gallant gesture.

The slow dance in the kitchen to calm me down; the hand reached out to me on an ordinary summer walk along the river; putting out the rubbish; putting away a pile of things that have built up in the entrance hall; a kiss on the forehead; a text during the day; a hot cup of tea and a rusk brought to me in bed; a late night belly laugh or a sleepy morning cuddle.

Continue reading The kindness of a good Hubby