Sunday, December 21, 2014

Out of South Africa


Some of the unpacking... And some last minute Christmas suggestions while we're at it.

Not pictured: the afternoon dark at 4pm several more books, another bottle of the delicious Inverroche Still Bay-made gin (blue box), and yet more soap. And there may or may not be thirsty cuttings from my mom's garden - free of pests, I checked very carefully - drinking up Harlem tap water in Dead Horse Bay bottles as we speak.

The Babylonstoren waterblommetjie is soap is very, very special. And I love Nocturnal Affair's ginger/lime sugar scrub.

The Sea Salt crackers. Positively the best crackers/biscuits I've ever eaten, from Woolworths.  The gelatin powder - odd. It is the easiest I've ever used: no lumps and bumps and swearwords as it forms a skin on top of the hot liquid and refuses to dissolve. Hence.

Black cat cards. I owe many. I ordered them specially.

Marmite cashews. Well. Some things can't be explained. My mother may have denuded Pick 'n Pay's stock on our behalf.

Enameled tin. I like it.

The Lion matches in fancy boxes - again - you had to have been there.

The invisible three glasses? Two may or may not (not, I suspect) be Woodstock (19th century) but the - unrelated - tumbler bears the old South African Airways Art Deco springbok emblem etched on its side.

Mostly, it has been the year of Books by Friends. Notably, Marijke's gorgeous and very, very good Indigenous Plant Palettes. It is going to be an invaluable reference book for me. If you are a South African gardener and do not yet own it, fix that at once and go and buy it. It is coffee table-worthy but also very practical. It would make a very special gift.

Kobus (and Jac de Villier)'s beautiful Strandveldfood is an inspiring collection of unique recipes and gorgeous images from South Africa's West Coast, with its characteristic contradictions of austerity and opulence brought together in stories on plates. Treat yourself to lunch at Oep ve Koep and perhaps the chef will sign a copy for you. Otherwise it is in stock in South African book shops and for Kindle on Amazon.

Ted Botha, author of Flat/White is a neighbor, not yet met - a fellow South African living in Harlem, who has just published a very entertaining book about life in his tenement. I wolfed half of it on the plane (before I fell asleep: I had three free seats to lie flat on!) and can't wait to down the second half. Available in shops in South Africa and for Kindle on Amazon.

There is more, but I am out of juice and running on fumes.

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