Some of the greatest things I have been taught in my mother’s kitchen have nothing to do with cooking or food. Over the last few years her kitchen has been more than just the place where she does her cooking. It is the place where we share jokes, have arguments, talk about the day, have a laugh, a cry and of course a plate of food.
My mother’s kitchen is my safe space where I know I can share anything with her and she would dish out her best advice. We’ll talk for hours while she somehow manages to cook, clean and still give me her undivided attention over a cup of tea.
It is from that same kitchen where my mother would comfort me with her words, and she would pack a sandwich, heat a bowl of food or get some water for the many destitute people who usually comes knocking for a bite to eat.
However, my earliest memory I have of time spent in the kitchen was the time shared with my late grandmother. Every afternoon I would get home from school and she would have already started with supper. Once I asked my gran where she learned to cook and she said: “jy steel net met die oog” (you steal with your eyes). In my attempts to steel met die oog, I would offer to chop onions. Ironic, because chopping onions makes you cry and today when I reflect on that time it makes me emotional.
The kitchen at my mother’s house is a space that has been passed down through generations of women and today I am filled with pride when I see my daughter running around in my mother’s kitchen.
The food in my mother’s house is just another reflection of her love for her family and granddaughter, it’s the memories that we make that is what we love serving up.