Yvonne was a fantastic cook, and family and friends are sure to have enduring memories fo delicious meals and treats. Versatile and resourceful, there was always a mix of flavour, cuisine and home-grown veggies on her table. This page preserves Yvonne's collection of recipes and shares some of her musings on cooking (edited every so slightly to water down the sauce and tone down generous use of CAPITALS!)
A bit of cooking history, written about 2010
Early interest in cooking was my Grandmothers house in Windhoek.S.W.A Still at that stage known as German West........... now Namibia.|
Her stove , a paraffin whatever dreadful stove however she had an oven attachment for baking... Awful results. Not a train smash however as then we had the most divine bakeries all German with the traditional German numnums. Never have I tasted such Black Forest Cake.
Easter time they had gingerbread cookies with almonds. Those German Bakeries took the festive seasons seriously.
Back to that stove...........Her cat hated me ( one of twenty I am not joking) guess as a little girl tried to whatever little girls do, however for years that bloody hairy Persian cat when I arrived on a visit never left the bottom of the stove glaring and spitting with endless baleful looks.
The food, well............Lets start in the mornings.
Winter we were subjected to.........a dollop of Scotts Emulsion and a dollop of some Malt stuff..
Summer even worse....we kids were obliged to consume daily doses of “Sulphur and Syrup, Senna pods and other Maud's health care doctrins. Catch phrase. Yvonne looks Peekie. A bottle of God knows what and a spoon.
Lets get back to the food shall we...............That paraffin stove with resident cat. Cooked all our meals for the day.. Some dishes unpalatable, my Mother tho a good cook did not enjoy preparing dishes as Tripe and Liver.........But thankfully my Mum did the cooking whilst on holidays there. Do however remember before World War II, Maud had a pantry full of English delicacies (God knows what and how old- Use by date was never considered). Needless to say packets of Oatmeal and porridges were hunting grounds for weavills. One thing I do remember from that pantry, she had Marmalade (very English of course) with the rinds cut into animal shapes. Yes even before WWII we had Kellogs cornflakes...The boxes were perforated for Walt Disney cut outs.........Mickey and Minnie mouse and all those Disney Characters........Kept us busy besides being fed....
Cocoa (Borneville) came in cylindrical tins (ideal to use for baking Boston bread) but in each c9c9a tin was a Disney (lead of course) little animal.........Also oodles of English porridges and not to forget the smoked Haddock (a must) baked, poached whatever...for Breakfast. However Sunday breakfasts were exotic with Kippers and baked Scones.
Bread was baked in the “Dutch Oven” scooped out of the clay soil in the back yard. Red hot coals and that bread was like not other......They sometimes did a “stew” in the Dutch oven which of course today we would call a potjie.
Meat was plentiful and cheap. All the butcheries were owned by Germans as were the Bakeries and nothing could compare. A no no on our menu however was “Black Pudding” only my Gradfather ate that....Tripe not popular with we children, so we filled up on bread and suet with a dollop of peanut butter and syrup. A great favourite with the grandchildren.
Of course there were no “cooking oils” anti Cholestrol marketing, unheard of. Fries were either in butter or suet, despite which we all seemed pretty healthy, possibly because where ever we went we had to walk....None of the family owned a motor car so it was “Shanks Pony” possibly that why there was little likely hood of obesity or any modern problems.
Needless to say,washing machines, fridges and vacuum cleaners were few and far between. In temperatures of 40 deg. All perishables were stowed in the cooler.......This device was a box on stilts framed in chicken mesh and filled with cinders topped with a galvanised tray perforated with little holes, periodically filled with water during the day placed on the back stoep behind the granadilla creeper. Topping up was one of our holiday chores (of which there were many) I digress, this cooler was amazing, butter (never heard of Margarine) was put into a clay crock and semi-submerged in a tray of water...... Seemed to work quite well.
Ice........ that's another story. The “mail train” from “The Union” came twice a week. All shops, businesses and railway workers, closed shop for the event. It was just that an event. Apart from the passengers, visitors and arriving family, the train disgorged all sorts of interesting items. That guards van was chock full of goodies. Best of which huge lumps of ice (salted) bagged in massive hessian cloth dumped on the platform into large tin baths.
Next came all the newspapers, periodicals and magazines. The Outspan, Farmers Weekly (yes even then) Once a month we received all the English and American publications. All were for the “Busy Bee” my Grandmothers business.
Besides the “ice”, all sorts of goodies arrived for the shops. Fish and wines from the Cape. For us very exciting flowers for the Florists, yes we had florists with some lovely flowers. A special treat was in the late Spring when they sold bunches of Violets. I often wonder where those came from. The were in season long boxes of Chinks, Gladioli and Protea's.
That Union Mail Train was a special twice weekly event for all Windhoekers, English, German, Afrikaans and Herero.
Back to the food. Stews, were the basics, occasionally my Mother would make things like pumpkin fritters, of course Sunday Roast was a must. Then Mutton was readily available as was beef and cheap. So Sunday (regardless of the heat) was a roast. With.. of course Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and veggies. For dessert (as we now know it, was difficult not having a fridge) so often was s steamed pudding with dates and custard etc.....There were times we had Sago pudding, baked custard, bread and butter pudding, rice pudding and stewed fruit and custard. Blancmange was a favourite and despite the lack of refrigeration was possible, though a bit “runny”. Our favourite was Zoe pudding” a steamed pudding with a light batter and steamed in golden syrup.. Lylles of course with the picture of a lion on a green tin.
Mazawatti tea in tins (no teabags then) had the leaves which you popped into a strainer. Into a teapot, great fun with the Ladies to vie with one another for fancy tea cosies.. Knitted or even crotched. Coffee was always Ellis Brown beans roasted and kept in a bag in an enamel koffie pot on the side of the stove where it stewed and stewed. That brew certainly put hair on your chest.....Yes Boiled eggs for breakfast with little mini.cosies too.......Neat and some of those egg cosies were imaginative. The Womens Weekly from Britain always popular for their knitting patterns and...