Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Memorabilia


The things one brings back from the mother country. Not shown are the 24 bottles of wine the Frenchman and I carried to Brooklyn across two hemispheres. And US customs officers have never minded. Asked if I had brought anything in with me this time, I replied, "A case of wine." The customs officer looked at me sternly and said, "Don't drink and drive. Welcome home, Red!" Stamp.

Other than that welcome, arriving at JFK is complete pandemonium and I feel very sorry for bright eyed and bushy tailed tourists who are familiar with other, civilized airports. You are barked at, herded, ignored and then have to pay for your luggage cart. It's brutal.

But here we are. With, from left: in the tube, two beautiful prints from my friend, artist Willemien de Villers, whose embroidery I call subversive. She will be teaching another course in New Mexico next year. Above that, Cape Town-made bottarga, salt-cured roe from sustainable hake, under the Leipoldt and Langa label, from my Instagram friend Kurt Ackerman. I traded a bottle of vermouth for it. To its right two South African made rugs for our kitchen door, which leads outside. And 72, yes, 72 mini ice cream cones from Woolworths. Because they really are that good and I think they might be fun for wild ice cream tastings. Peri-peri cashews, because, why not? Top right, cream of tartar for home made rusks, and a bottle of amber Inverroche gin, made in Stilbaai.

Middle row: a cotton blanket, also South African, and beautifully soft. Mampoer to its right, a clear peach liquor with a mule-ish kick, for the neighbor who watered our plants. Then a bottle each of my October Vermouth and its bitters, bottled on my birthday. There are more, off stage. Soap! I know, but it's wonderful and has no Bad Stuff in it, by South African brand Earth Sap (whose marketing presence is nil). And a cherished bottle of wine made by aforementioned Willemien's husband, Etienne de Villiers. They live below their small vineyard on an idyllic spot above False Bay and Etienne was kind enough to give me one of very few bottles. Fortunately, when my wine box came hurtling down the JFK luggage shoot, smashing into someone's suitcase, this was not the bottle that died on impact. First time I have ever suffered a casualty.

Bottom left: a fresh batch of kikois (Tanzania), a first aid box I could not resist, an old China plate and a Woodstock glass tumbler, found on an after-lunch walk through Kalk Bay's antique shops.

Such is memory and nostalgia, to be eaten, drunk, slept under, walked on and looked at.

And now it's a deep dive straight back into my new book - Forage, Harvest, Feast, as the editing phase begins.

See you on the other side.


6 comments:

  1. This reminds me of my own haul, from when I went to visit my parents, a year ago now. I do sometimes wish the City of Lakes wasn't quite so far from the Cape of Storms.

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  2. My dear neighbor friend always brings back the neatest things when she visits her family in South Africa. She often brings back a beaded animal figurine for me!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories with all of us, and your new treasures!

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  4. On one of my only trips overseas, my host took me to a fleamarket. I bought a copper saucepan that I tucked into my luggage and hauled all the way home. And a small dish that each night holds my glasses, rings and necklace of the day. I love those sorts of memorabilia.

    Also, for South African readers, you can find Earth Sap products on the Faithful to nature website (https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/earthsap)

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  5. We take over from SA and bring back from the USA! Such happy travellers!

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  6. These are such lovely treasures.

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