Arum lilies near Darling, 2 September 2007. Photo: Maureen Viljoen
I have not been back to South Africa in the spring time since 2007. And I have missed over a decade of autumns and winters, too, with one memorable trip back in the last century in midwinter, when I was fleeing my first, bad marriage and could think of nothing else but running home. My parents were away, in the north, and I sat that arriving night at the candlelit kitchen table in Constantia with two friends, Marylynn and Frederic, and we ate parsley soup from the lush, green herb garden and a panful of pine rings that I had picked in the Tokai forest that afternoon. I spilled the beans and they listened with open mouths.
Visiting Karen Bekker's waterblommetjie bredie today on her Cape Town-based blog, Smashing Cape Town made me long for home. On her blog you will find a perfect picture of a perfect dish, which might be the soul of the Western Cape, the region that receives long winter rains which fill ponds and roadside ditches with water, and arum lilies, and where these waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos) sometimes grow. The fleshy flowers-turning-to-seed-pods of the aquatic plant found their way a long time ago into bredie - the slow-cooked Cape meat dish which features one seasonal vegetable.