My First Memory Of Food

Growing up, I was an only child for quite a long time — my parents only had another child when I was about 8 years old.

My parents.

This was because after I was born (a year after my parent’s wedding), my mother went on to continue with her studies.

During this period I stayed with my maternal grandmother on weekdays and my dad would pick me up when mama came home on weekends.

Eventually, my parents had two more daughters making me the first of three beautiful girls.

Papa and her girls. Nhlori had just had her head surgery here. I was highly pregnant. Basically Hlovani and pa were the only healthy ones This day.

I got to spend a lot of time with my parents. My dad loves working with his hands and he involved me in a lot of the chores; from gardening to fixing things around the house, I was his assistant. We drove around together a lot as well.


The same with my mum; I was her commis chef in the kitchen and would help do her hair, laundry and cleaning the house. But I didn’t like doing the dishes (I still don’t 🤣).

Both my parents shaped my food journey in ways I doubt they’re even aware of — I have my dad’s extremely adventurous palate and my mom’s brilliant instinct when it comes to cooking. Hectic combo!

In our backyard we had a lot of fruit trees; mangoes, guavas peaches and pawpaws are just some of the once o can remember (it was a while back so don’t judge).

When it rained my dad and I would go outside to work on the garden (we both loved and still love the rain). I loved how he always made me pick the fruits when tgetbwere ready. He’s tell me how proud he was that I take care of the garden and bring produce to the house (Lol parent talk). And I’d be so happy.

My mama loved cooking. She still does. And man can she cook! Mama has a way of tweaking everyday staples into the best meal you’ll have in a long time — a feat I definitely inherited.

When I recently visited my parents I found that me and dad’s favourite guava tree had fruit, lots of it. So, I picked a couple to nibble on. That’s when an idea hit me — I wanted to use these in my kitchen somehow.

Now cut to the part where I’m back in Jozi and I have no idea what I’m going to make. Lol shuu, the stress now!

I eventually decided to go for some sort of cake — I’d initially wanted to make a pie filling (which flopped. Lol)

I made a purèe which I folded into my batter. And Bob’s your uncle.

This cake took me back to those rainy days at home with my father. It reminded me how grateful I am for my blessings and childhood.

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