Monday, 23 May 2011

The lamb rib and bean curry that made me cry

Lamb rib and bean curry like my grandmother made
It was the curry from the blue bird garage market, that lovely lady at the 25 rupees stall- I should have known by the way she dished her food up, with such grace.
One mouthful and I was a little girl in my grandmothers was my grandmothers curry.
I could taste all her delicious bredies, green bean, tomato, cabbage,
so many curries, chicken, lamb, sugar bean, meatballs- plain and curried, often wrapped in cabbage, pickled fish- she brought all her spices with her from Cape Town to Canada.
I remember hours spent pricking watermelon skin for konfyt, the thought of the syrupy treat giving me extra strength to stab just a  little bit harder
The stinky smell of my grandfathers tripe, and the fun of collecting those long forgotten
periwinkles from the rocks, boiling them and using a needle to coax them from their shells-so tiny.
If my grandmother wasn't cooking, I wouldn't eat.
When we traveled by car, at roadhouse pit stops, it would be milkshake and buttered toast for me with tennis biscuits in between.
Mostly we traveled by ship, my grandmother said she was afraid to fly, she was a clever lady......
I would sit in the grand dinning rooms with them, reading the long menus and order milkshake with buttered toast with treats from ' high tea' in between
I know my grandmothers cooking must have been good  to have sustained me, made with love and the knowledge of the generations of cooks before her- food that nourishes a child's soul.
My tears were because in this busy life, I had forgotten her and her gift- so this Sunday I made Tomato Bredie for my family, remembering her as I cooked.


  1. Mmm... Tomato, green bean and waterbloemetjie bredies... I've got to phone my mom!
    Thanks Karen, I love the posts

  2. Ah Susan- I forgot the best, waterblommetjie, almost time again- so very honoured that you're reading them x

  3. Ag Karen - what a lovely post!

    This is a good idea for a story. Food that made people cry, and why. For me it was a yellowtail snapper in a shack on the dirty Miami River, but I don't know why. Perhaps because I had never eaten a fish so good, and was crying for the lost opportunities.

    Your tomato bredie looks divine (it makes me miss camping in the Eastern Cape), and I long for waterblommetjies.

    From where to where did you travel by ship?

  4. just reading made me wipe away a tear.
    my Ouma taught me to cook, first by watching her for hours in the kitchen, me standing on a chair at the table. then by doing the little jobs, grating the cheese, buttering the cake pans.
    boontjiebredie is on the cards.

  5. Hi Marie- overwhelmed that you liked the post and take the time to should be polishing those pebbles!
    Food is so fascinatingly emotive, I'd look forward to reading your story on it.
    I was wondering why I had forgotten waterblommetjies, but then realised that my poor gran probably never found any in Canada!

    I was fortunate enough to do several crossings, as I was living with my grandparents in Canada, whilst my mom was in South Africa. Once a year we would visit, so it was 2 visits, which was 4 crossings, and the last one to return to SA when I was 9, too young to remember everything, but lasting impressions....grand departures with hundreds of streamers, the feeling of being in the middle of the great ocean, equator crossings, lots of smells and the absolutely terrible taste of powdered milk, as there was no long-life in those days!! I used to keep the menus from all the ships, but sadly they are now lost x

  6. Ah Lily! Missed you at the bootsale- although very hard to see people whilst keeping an eye out for those bargains.
    I think we were very lucky to have the cooking kind of oumas! I'm now desperate to replicate the lamb rib and boontjie curry x


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