Life on a table: Stories from my Namibian kitchen
Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt's hopes that as you meet my family and friends and the food that brought us together through her cookbook 'Life on a table: Stories from my Namibian kitchen', you too will be inspired to notice and cherish your own life on a table.
Food is a language that communicates beyond the limitations of words. It is true that we are what we eat. Not only physically, but also emotionally. The Spanish are very much Sangria, tapas and paella people. The French are foie gras, champagne and haute cuisine. The Germans beer and eisbein, the Italians wine, pasta and slow food. And Namibians? We are the braai, kapana, lazy afternoons and long evenings around a fire - we are a hearty feast of the very best of meat grilled on real wood fires under an endless sky. It is beautiful to see how people cook and eat the way that they talk, think and live. But the language of food also has a more private and individual significance. It is a way for us to demonstrate tove and compassion when words alone are not enough. Home-cooked meals bring families together around tables, where people sit and talk, make eye contact and connect again. In the kitchens of all our earth mothers and patres familias, meals are prepared to feed bodies and souls, to make memories and to create a legacy of love that is passed on from generation to generation. So every recipe book becomes a collection of love letters, a recollection of history, stories of times and people and places that were good, that made life better for the people for whom the food was prepared. I love to cook. Whether it began out of I sheer desperation to save us from a I potential embarrassment of having my mom cook for dignatories when I was 12, or whether it is the relaxed atmosphere of my farm kitchen, surrounded by my husband Chris and my children Christoph and Marietjie, our faithful dogs and always as many friends and family we can get together around a table. I love to cook. Through the years, through chance encounters with random foodies on my path, I realised that I was destined to cook. Lovely flavours, exotic combinations and strong tastes resonated with me. It was especially during the early time of my marriage to Chris - when we lived in Oshakati during the last years of the war and where we met ail these interesting and fun people and eating together was the main recreational activity in our lives - that I really fell deeply in love with the art of food. The older women in our social circles taught me so much about how to mal gourmet meals out of limited and erratic supplies. This is the story of food in Namibia: making the best of what you have, practical and maximal. It is metaphorical of the character of our nation. Back in Windhoek my career took its course, from cooking demonstrations for food enthusiasts to judging braai competitions for various farmers associations and the odd party catering favour to friends to a fully fledged catering business. I became involved in the annual national Tourism Expo, developing the "Chef's Theatre", which was an incredible journey. I met many of the giants in the gourmet industry and some of them have become my dearest and closest friends. I have embraced every opportunity to travel, to experience new cultures and learn about people through their cooking. I fanatically collect recipes and cookbooks. I love it, especially when the great loves of my life, my family, my friends and good food, all come together, which is what this book is all about. I measure ingredients in recipes in cups (250 ml), tablespoons (15 ml), teaspoons (5 ml) and memories.
This is an excerpt from the cookbook, by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt.
Titel: Life on a table
Subtitle: Stories from my Namibian kitchen
Author: Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt
Photography: Hentie Burger
Editing: Christine Hugo; Christina Rockstroh
Publisher: Venture Publication
Windhoek, Namibia 2015
ISBN 9789991685274 / ISBN 978-99916-852-7-4
Half cloth binding, 20 x 25 cm, 323 pages, throughout photographs
de Chavonnes Vrugt, Antoinette im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Life on a table: Stories from my Namibian kitchen is a richly illustrated cookbook with a wide range of Namibian recipes.
'My Hungry Heart' is an inspiring cooking book packed full of diverse recipes from Namibian kitchens.