Our great-grandmother, Annie, was the wife of a nomadic farmer. She spend almost her entire life on the road, moving between farms in the Namaqualand and Boesmanland. She knew hardships but also how to make the most from the little they had in life. She is the creator of our Four Generation Spiced Salt.
Ouma Leen was the youngest of 9 children and grew up living the nomadic life. Together with her husband, oupa Hentie, they formed a formidable team, living on their farm Klein Rooiberg for more than 50 years. She knew her way around the farm and in the kitchen she was a magician. A true “boervrou” in every sense of the word.
An angel in all our lives, humble and always true to her roots. Like her mother and grandmother she kept the Afrikaner traditions alive in the kitchen, adding her special touch over the years. Spending most of her adult life in and around the city, her intense love for the Boesmanland and its people have not faded, even in the slightest.
Annie, the youngest child of German parents, grew up on farms in the Western Cape. An incredibly strong woman, cheesemaker by trade and creative chef in the kitchen. She fell in love with Klein Rooiberg instantly, as if they were created for one another. A German-Afrikaner Boeremeisie.
Ons Vier Generasies speserysout is onthou-sout.
Vir vier geslagte maak ons spesery-sout deel uit van die saam-aansit om die tafel. Eens was dit in die trekpad se tent, waar saam aangesit is rondom die klein, maar ferm tafeltjie wat oupa-grootjie self aanmekaar getimmer het. Alles het tot stand gekom uit die min wat hulle gehad het.
Skermkos met die veldbossies, wat die vuurmaakhout was, het saam met hierdie spesery-sout, die inhoud van die swartpot gegeur. Na baie jare op die trekpad , kon ouma-grootjie , Annie van Zyl (die vrou van ‘n trekboer), later in die historiese plaashuisie op Klein Rooiberg, op die Doverstofie onthoukos kook.
Later het Ouma Leen, die dogter van hierdie trekboer-vrou en die jongste van 9 kinders, die ouooi-vleis in ‘n delicatessen omskep. Oupa Hentie het geglo daar is niks so lekker soos die vleis van ‘n ouooi -mofskaap nie. Vroegdag is die vleis al in die pot gesit om stadigweg te kook sodat dit teen middagete sag kan wees. Dit was hierdie spesery-sout wat die vleis gegeur het…dit, en die brakwater wat die windpomp uit die goeie aarde opgetrek het.
Kosmaak was nie ‘n gejaagde besigheid nie. Die plaaskombuis was die “sitkamer” en die eetkamer en in die snerpende koue winters, was dit die sonkamer waar mens jou kon warm broei in die sonnetjie wat deur die kombuisvenster geskyn het. So is daar rondom die kospotte gesels en gekuier en sentraal in alles was die geur van die skaapvleis, in watter vorm ookal, met rys en aartappels onlosmaaklik deel van die bord kos. ‘n Soetkossie soos soet-patats of soet pampoen of kwepers, wat in lanings op die plaas gegroei het, het ekstra kleur en bederf verleen. En sekerlik het hierdie spesery-sout soos ouma dit van haar ma oorge-leer het, daardie vleis die spesiale dis van die dag gemaak. Soms was dit bredie-kos, ander dae kaiings en soms kerrie-afval. En dan was daar die sondagmiddag-braaivleis met die doringboom-hout en die speserye wat braaivleis net so heeltemal anders laat proe het.
Dit was nie kos uit resepteboeke nie…dit was onthou-kos…
Slagdae is rugstring-biltong-vleis keurig uitgesny en ge-spesery-sout en skaapbiltong en -droë worsies is vir ‘n paar dae in die sifkas uitgehang om droog te word. Dit het bederfkos geword wat ingepak is in die kostrommeltjie wat die plaaskinders koshuis toe geneem het. Die kostrommel is in die koskamer in die koshuis toegesluit en 2 keer per dag kon jy jou trooskos gaan uithaal daar waar dit beskermd weggebêre was.
Ma Anet, haar ouma Annie se naamgenoot, het ons van kindsbeen die lekkerte van ‘n bord boerekos gewoond gemaak. Die geur het ons baie dae laat terugverlang na ouma Leen se kombuis. Maar in ons ma se kombuis was daar baie resepteboeke. Meestal is hierdie resepte nie slaafs nagevolg nie. Met ‘n lepel-vol van hierdie soutmengsel is die geur van die boekgegewe resep omskep in ‘n smaak wat ons maar altyd ‘n tweede porsie laat skep het.
Die dag toe nog ‘n Annie (Anne Katherin, die dogter van ‘n Duitse ma en pa) deel van die vier generasies geword het, het die sirkel so mooi kom toemaak. Sy het met die eerste oogopslag verlief geword op hierdie dorre Boesmanland. Drie Anna’s wat elkeen ‘n sentrale plekkie gehad het. Annie het ‘n nuwe eet-ervaring na die plaaskombuis gebring. Met haar kreatiewe vaardigheid met kos, is van fyn detail cuisine regdeur tot potjiekos op die vuur, en staanrib en spit-gebraaide boud ‘n nuwe onthou-ervaring gebaar. Met haar onmiddellike meeleef in ons kos-sentimente het Anne Kathrine ouma grootjie se soutmengsel verhef tot ‘n uitvoer-produk wat ons met almal wil deel.
Mag elkeen wat hierdie geur in hul spyskaart gebruik, onthou’s beleef wat soveel nostalgie terugbring dat ons Vier generasies spesery-sout onlosmaaklik deel sal bly van jou spesery kas.
Our Four-Generations Spiced Salt has a lot of history and nostalgia to it.
For four generations we have mixed this spiced salt and it has always been a big part of our times spent together as a family at our table. First, it was our ancestors whose nomadic life forced them to blend this special salt which was often enjoyed in a tent around a small wooden table, lovingly build by our great-grandfather. Everything we share now came about from the very little they had.
Pots of stew simmering on fire, using bushes cut from the “veld” (Field). It was this salt that flavoured the contents of a black cast-iron cooking pot. After many years as a nomadic farmer’s wife, our great-grandmother Ouma Annie van Zyl cooked these stews at home on her wood-burning Dover Stove on our family farm Klein Rooiberg. For her, this was a time to remember the hardships and to remain humble.
Later it was Ouma Leen the daughter of Ouma Annie and the youngest of 11 children, who used this salt to turn a pot of mutton into a delicious meal. Oupa Hentie, her husband, believed that there was no other meat as delicious as mutton. In the early morning, the mutton was placed in the pot to simmer so that by midday it was soft and tender. It was our salt and the brackish water pumped up from the ground by a windmill, that flavoured this stew.
Cooking was never rushed. The kitchen was not only a place to eat but also the “living room” and the heart of the home. In the ice-cold winters, the kitchen was the “sunroom” where you could warm yourself in the sunlight that filtered through the kitchen window. So, it was around this meal of mutton, rice, and potatoes, lovingly spiced with our salt that memories were made. Something sweet to accompany the meal was usually sweet potatoes or sweet-pumpkin or quince compote, which grew plentifully on the farm.
These sweet dishes would add colour to the plate and bring pleasure to an often-hard life. Some days it was Stew other days it was Kaiings (sheep meat and fat fried in a pan) or Kerrie- Afval ( Tripe in a curried sauce) and for Sunday lunch it was always sheep meat grilled with our spiced salt on an open fire made from indigenous thorn trees which gave a unique flavour. No dish was ever cooked from a recipe book, but rather closely valued and treasured traditions passed down from generation to generation.
On days where a sheep or lamb was slaughtered the farmhouse would be alive with activity. Soft tender fillets were removed and spiced for biltong. Sheep biltong and Droëwors ( Dried sausage) were hung to dry outside in a netted cupboard. Considered a delicacy they were often packed in a container or lunchbox and sent with the children who attended boarding school. At school, these special and treasured boxes were locked away, but twice a day each child was allowed a small snack from their box.
Ma Anet, her grandmother Annie’s namesake, introduced us to Boerekos (Farm Food) from childhood. The fragrance made us long for Ouma Leen’s cooking. In Ma Anet’s kitchen, there were always many recipe books. Usually, these recipes are not slavishly followed; with a spoonful of our spiced salt mixture, the aroma of the book’s recipe was transformed into a taste that always left us having a second serving.
The day that Annie or Anne- Katherin, the daughter of a German mother and father, became part of our four generations, the circle came together so beautifully. From the moment that Annie lay eyes on the barren Boesmanland, she fell in love. Three Annie’s who all played a central part in our family. Annie brought a new food experience to our farm kitchen.
Her creative skills in cooking were vastly different from what we knew. From Fine-dining to Potjiekos and Spit-braaied Legs of Lamb, each dish was a new food memory. With her understanding of the importance of preserving family history and how much it was an integral part of our family she took our great-grandmother’s spiced salt recipe and turned it into a sellable product so that we may share it with you.
May all of you who use our Four Generations Spiced Salt in your dishes be brought nostalgically back to your childhood memories and we hope that our spiced salt will always be a part of your meals and family.