Homemade Book

Whether it’s scrambled eggs on toast, a few slices of gently crumbed bread drenched in creamy amasi or an oxtail curry that’s been tended over hours, the activity of cooking is performed in different forms.
What happens in the kitchen – both what we eat and how it is prepared and served – tells a story. If indeed we are what we eat, then what we cook is the foundation of this identity. 
This anthology is about all the different stories that are told in our kitchens. For in there, we aren’t just creating meals, but also ourselves. We learn about giving thanks and declining politely; about how much is too much; and about the activities such as kneading bread that are a balm to our souls.
Over a feast of 21 stories, you will read about life lessons learnt from what happens, or doesn’t happen in the kitchen. Get a taste of one of the stories here.
There’s a story by Vanessa Tedder of how she’s learnt to make curries intuitively because recipes passed down to her include suggestions such as “just add jeera and elatchie”. And “throw in some methi seeds, add some saffron and a few sticks of cinnamon” – which could mean anything from two to five cinnamon sticks.
In her essay, Zinzi Zungu shares how she holds two identities in tandem. As a vegan, and proud Zulu, she’s learnt to honour cultural customs while feeding her body what she believes it best needs.
Then there’s the moving recollection from Precious Kofi of what she served the first time she had her ex-husband and his fiancé over to her house for an important lunch. Her choice of meal is surprising, but at the same time totally suitable and fitting in the arc of her life story.
Some of the essays share beliefs and take clear standpoints on matters of food.
Siyabonga Mngoma makes a call that we should decolonize our kitchens, and gives suggestions on how she practices this; and what we can do to embrace our ancient culinary legacy.
If you haven’t eaten beef hearts in a while, Camilla Wolfson gives an impassioned defense for why eating meat; and then eating meat nose-to-tail can actually be an environmentally sound choice.
And then because such events have happened to anyone who’s ever attempted to cook, there are entertaining confessions of dining disasters.
Dorah Sitole recalls the confused response of her friends the first time she served them flambeèd Crepe Suzettes. And that one time she tried to make a Portuguese goulash in a Corning ware casserole dish; and learnt an important lesson about how to reheat food in a casserole dish. 
The essays are accompanied with 30 recipes shared by some of the writers. You can learn a particular families take on classics such as beans curry, uphuthu nemfino, chicken a la king, mutton curry, dhall and samp. Then add some possible new dishes like a broccoli, bacon and raisin salad or herby plant-based cheese or a zucchini snack dish into your culinary repertoire. 
The contributing authors come from a diversity of backgrounds, religions and tribes. 
Though they all have roots in South Africa, they are based in Cape Town, and Durban and Johannesburg and Colorado and London and New York. That such variety can live together in harmony in one book, is a testament to the power of food to unite. 
The essays shared in this anthology tell the stories of cuisines that don’t often get their moment in the literary or culinary spotlight. Over the past few years, more cookbooks sharing African recipes have been published and this thrills me. Meals like uphuthu, amasi and isigwaqane are eaten in the homes of millions of people around the country, and likely even the world. Yet, they are not frequently reflected on Instagram feeds, or regularly reinterpreted in cookbooks. 
Edited by Norma Young, this book is a contribution towards fostering a necessary culinary change.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon or you can buy a personalized copy.