In my case, a winning combination that undoubtedly helped me through many exams and projects in school and university.
My mother had a habit of making late night pancakes. She would suddenly appear in my room with two perfectly laid out cinnamon and sugar pancakes. I should clarify that South African pancakes are the equivalent of French crepes and the favourite way to eat them is with cinnamon and sugar.
These beauties would appear at just the right time in the hands of my mother. Until this day, pancakes are my go-to late night pick me up, although I have to admit, hers were better.
I have always been a bit of a night owl, partly because I left everything to the last minute but also because there was secretly something exciting about the urgency factor it created. I am also a fan of working in the silence of the morning hours. I would quite happily stay up through the night perfecting art projects, studying or planning some elaborate trip. My mother on the other hand was more of a morning person so it’s remarkable that she stayed up to make these pancakes.
She kept a recipe book filled with a variety of dishes, cakes and sauces all labelled very descriptively with a common theme throughout not easily missed. Her recipes had names like ‘Simple pancakes in a hurry’, ‘All-in-one-easy casserole’ and my favourite ‘The easiest chocolate cake for when you have no time’. Clearly there was a time issue which is not surprising given that she was a lawyer with her own law firm, a mediator on the side and ran our messy and entertaining family. She was a very very busy woman.
Another name I love in her collection was awarded to one of our favourite meals in the family, a glorious seafood soup that demanded a second helping. This soup is descriptively named by my mother as ‘Best seafood soup you can eat, loved by all, make enough for second helping, very expensive’. A classic.
When she died in 2011 my brother and I decided that he should take the actual recipe book and that I will take a photo-copied version. We had that approach to all her things. It was a one for you, one for me situation. We are good like that. Since then I’ve been building up my own collection of recipes in addition to the ones I inherited. I’ve been following the same naming conventions passed on. My newest addition is called ‘The Thai curry you need to practice to get as good as the one you ate in Thailand’.