There are people whose names will go down in history for having preserved the recipes of early Cape Foods. Hilda Gerber in her Traditional Cookery of the Cape Malays, Cass Abrahams for her Cass Abrahams cooks Cape Malay focus on the foods cooked by our Malay peoples in the Cape. Betsie Rood, herself a national treasure, in her 101 traditional South Africa Recipes. Mrs van Tulleken, Hildagonda Duckitt, Kotie van der Spuy and C Louis Leipoldt. And we should not forget Eve Palmer in her Return to Camdeboo, the wonderful foodie followup of that great treatise on the Karoo, The Plains of Camdeboo.
There are the academics like Renata Coetzee in her Spys en drank: Die oorspong van die Afrikaanse eetkultuur and Dr Hettie Claassens with her epic Die Geskiedenis van Boerekos.
Then there are the popular writers like Phillippa Cheifitz who edited a Readers Digest South Africa Cookery book, Magdaleen van Wyk with her Tradisionele Suid-Afrikaanse Kookkuns and Mrs SJA de Villiers with her iconic Cook and Enjoy, which was THE gift for the young bride, along with The Royal Hostess. Dorah Sithole, a well known South African foodie wrote Cooking from Cape to Cairo and Recipes with a Touch of Africa. Most of these books are to be found in any number of kitchens on both sides of the boerewors curtain from the farms of the Highveld, the Free State and the plains of the Karoo, to cities and suburbs and small country towns.
Then we have Dine van Zyl, who, not to put too fine an edge on it, has taken Boerekos to a new level. A friend for some 30 years and daughter of the famous Robertson winemaker Pon van Zyl, Dine is already a prolific publisher of books which reflect boere cooking, Potjiekos, Agter die lekker aan, and Nog ‘n stukkie. She has recently appeared in an excellent TV Series called Boerekos met Dine van Zyl. Sunday nights were such fun as we watched Dine travel the length and breadth of the country visiting farms, seaside resorts and personalities like Mannetjies Roux and coaxing recipes out of them. All this has now found its way into a benchmark book called The Great Boerekos Book. Also available in Afrikaans as Die Groot Boerekos Boek.
So much of this tugs at the heartstrings as this was the way we ate as children in my grandmother’s kitchen.
Well illustrated by – mostly – Dine’s photographs and filled with recipes that will take you back to the good old days, when real food was cooked in most kitchens, when there was time and when the ingredients were live just outside the back door.
Dine van Zyl Publications