Monday 7 December 2009


Yesterday evening I did a quintessential lone traveller thing: I went to the cinema by myself. This isn’t a cry for help – I was passing a cinema; there was a film I wanted to see; the friend I called last-minute-spur-of-the-moment wasn’t able to make it; I decided to go anyway.

The film in question was Julie and Julia. It’s about Julia Child, the American cookery writer, and Julie Powell, who decided to cook every recipe in Child’s seminal work Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and blog about it in the Julie/Julia Project.

I’d read both the memoirs the film was based on and was curious to see the film. It’s not a film for the ages, but it was fun in the way leafing through a nice glossy magazine full of yummy food is fun. I especially liked looking at all of the kitchens and kitchen equipment featured.

On the way home I thought about cooking and blogging – and wondered why I hadn’t been cooking more in Cape Town.

This is a large part of the reason why:

The kitchen of the Little Yellow House is small, and the equipment limited. The gas burners are temperamental and I burn my fingers every time I try to light them. They also have a bad habit of blowing themselves out when they’re on low.

But on the evening in question I felt the urge to cook something and write about it. I didn’t grow up with Julia Child so don’t feel the same affinity towards her that Julie did. But I have read a lot of Elizabeth David who first influenced my mother and then me. (Rattdl feel free to comment/correct!) Elizabeth David famously described the perfection of an omelette and a glass of wine. So I decided to make an omelette.

I lit the stove for the first time. (Singed fingers slightly). Put quite an obscene amount of butter in a frying pan. Beat two eggs for just a few seconds and poured into the pan. Shook the eggs in the pan. Turned the pan down a little. Went to the fridge to get some rocket. Came back and realised the stove had gone out. Lit it again. (Singed fingers again.) Tried and failed to flip omelette so had to turn it with a wooden spoon, a poor stand in for a spatula. Seasoned with lots of pepper and a little salt. Served with rocket, over which I sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Despite everything, it was delicious.

The only sad part was that I had no wine, only water. If you were wondering whether there was going to be a hint today, here it is: in South Africa, buy your wine before 5pm on Saturdays, because there are few places where you can buy alcohol on Saturday evenings and Sundays.


  1. You don't get to complain about how difficult it is to buy alcohol in Southern Africa until you've had to climb a mountain in order to buy beer, and are then limited to the amount you can carry on your back for the next week.


  2. Remember Colorado where if Christmas Day is on Monday you need to buy wine on Saturday for the same reason. But we had fun all the same.

  3. True. You just need to plan ahead.