Kim Shaw, F&HE copy editor, reminisces about veggie patches and the perfect cake
All this gorgeous Joburg weather and spring planning has got me thinking about what to plant and that got me remembering my dad’s incredible veg garden in Scotland. He was a mad gardener, but not for flowers and shrubs – for vegetables. He planted everything – different types of lettuce, potatoes, radishes that Rapunzel would have given her locks for, carrots, beetroot and the sweetest of peas.
Mrs Crayton next door had one lone rhubarb bush, but it was lush – enough for all the kids in the neighbourhood. We’d pick the long red stalks and get a little packet of sugar to dip the ends into before biting off the sweet and sour crunchiness. Two doors along Mr Young grew strawberries – beds and beds of them. Sometimes we swapped strawberries for veggies.
My dad always made sure the oldies in the area were sorted. Mrs Rushton was our favourite. She grew the most incredible fuchsias – great big bushes of them! And she always made sure there was a lily of the valley plant growing at the entrance to the doorway come springtime: for the delicate fragrance and their beautiful little bells. I mowed the lawn for her every springtime. When I got halfway through the task she’d come and sit on the step with me and watch while I devoured a slice of freshly baked Victoria sponge cake with a glass of lemonade. Her Victoria sponge was the best in all of Scotland.
Springtime for me is about planting veggies, lily of the valley and eating Victoria sponge.
While we’re on the ‘reminiscing’ topic, don’t forget to send your nostalgic South African heritage recipes to [email protected]. We’re launching our Soul Food menu online on Heritage Day (24 September) so that we can compile an archive of South African favourites.