In the early 1970s, after I had returned from The Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London, I worked for a while for an advertising agency at the top of Loop Street in Cape Town which specialised in food photography. I learnt so much and worked with some fabulous people. One day we had a visit from Mrs S J A de Villiers author of the legendary Kook en Geniet, first published in 1951. A complete icon in South African Cookery Book history. No bride in an Afrikaans family was married without a gift of the book from her mother. She was a tiny sprightly lady and her total gentleman of a husband in his suit and tie and hat, was charming and dignified. They had come in to select a photograph for the next edition of this iconic book. We sat down and searched through the archives, which in those days meant looking at slides on a light box. I was so thrilled, an honoured when she chose a picture I had done which had a roast chicken with pineapple slices. We still have a copy of that book, as well as later editions. In later years, I met her daughter, which was very special.
This book is the small sister of Kook en Geniet and is published in Afrikaans and authored by her daughter Eunice van der Berg. It is really a perfect book for beginners of all ages. Excellent front pages of pictures of equipment, methods, cooking terminology, a Centigrade and Fahrenheit conversion table, all to prepare for starting to cook.
The pages are bright, lovely photographs. All sorts of foods that young people love. And I also found a recipe that I have been looking for for years, an Orange Pudding my grandmother used to make. Should have looked in Kook en Geniet in the first place.
Mrs de Villiers lived in Stellenbosch and died at the ripe old age of 91 in 2010. On her gravestone appear the words, Kook en Geniet. Not bad for a great lady who taught thousands of people to cook.
Klein Kook en Geniet is published in Afrikaans only by Human and Rousseau, and will make a great Christmas stocking stuffer for a young Afrikaans friend.
Read more about Human & Rousseau – CLICK HERE