Keeping our culinary heritage alive

Keeping our culinary heritage alive
Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

South African cuisine is a unique blend of the culinary art of many different cultures. Dutch, French, German and British settlers, as well as the Malays who came from the East, all brought their own recipes to this country.
The subtle adaptation of these “imported” recipes by the addition of local ingredients and the introduction of innovative (at the time) cooking methods resulted in an original and much-loved cuisine, that still sits comfortably alongside contemporary cooking.

‘Traditional South African Cooking’, written by Magdaleen Van Wyk and Pat Barton, is a classic cookbook that has stood the test of time, having first been published in 1993 and staying in print ever since. This edition, the fifth so far, is a collection of well-known South African recipes that will enable the modern cook to continue the tradition and produce the same delicious meals that our ancestors used to enjoy.
This book is full of recipes for Soups, Starters & Snacks; Fish & Seafood; Poultry; Meat; Game & Game Birds; Vegetables, Salads & Side Dishes; Desserts; Biscuits, Scones, Cakes & Sweet Tarts; Bread and Rusks; Sweets & Sweetmeats: Preserves, Jams & Jellies; Pickles & Chutneys; and Fruit Drinks, Beers & Liqueurs – all you need, really, for just about any day.

The saddest thing for me is that I never captured some of the recipes of the delicious dishes my grandmothers and granddad used to cook for our family.
One always thinks that you will store them in your memory bank and draw on them later, but it’s never the same as documenting them. You always seem to forget the little details that matter.
So if you’re longing for a beloved grandmother’s famous milk tart or melkkos, or a great aunt’s delicious Bobotie or vetkoek, you should really have this book in your kitchen.

Let’s cook!

 Buttermilk Rusks (karringmelkbeskuit)
Makes about 30.


  • 1 kg self-raising flour
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 10 ml salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200 ml white sugar
  • 500 ml buttermilk
  • 190 g butter, melted

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Beat the eggs, sugar and buttermilk together and cut this mixture into the dry ingredients with a knife. Knead the dough lightly, gradually adding the melted butter while kneading. This will take about 7 minutes. Pack balls of dough tightly into greased loaf pans (they should reach about two-thirds the height of the pans).
Bake at 180 °C for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and break into individual rusks. Lower the oven temperature to 100 °C and dry the rusks for about 4 hours, turning them every 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in airtight containers. These rusks will keep for at least 3 months.

Published By Struik Lifestyle
© New Edition of South African Cooking. Magdaleen Van Wyk and Pat Barton