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site Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. If they said this had to be done, you had to do it. Putting into writing the methods of women who crafted meals in a time where it was normative to cook for large numbers, in the Durban heat without benefit of refrigerationthus necessitating ritual slaughter and preparation just prior to mealsrequired more than transcribing recipes into print from the verbal instructions of the women who cherished them.
It also required that they be brought up-to-date and whenever possible short cut methods devised. The older women had not typically measured with much precision.
Gori Patel explained You know that we ask [the] grannies, Ma, how much you put this in, masala in. They said, Put a little bit.
And the salt? No, after that you must put your finger and you must taste. You see, thats how they tell us, like that, and thats how I also learnt cooking.
Tasting, then, was an ongoing part of transcription from oral to textual record, and it involved the considered judgement and input of Group members. This meant that, to some extent, the Groups own flavour preferences came into play in deciding on correct amounts of salt, ghee, spices, and so on. While pre-literate tasting methods of measurement were subjective and varied according to serving size and the signature styles of individual cooks or family preferences, written recipes calculated fixed amounts.
In keeping with an age excited by scientific achievement, cookery from a printed manual offered a kind of popular chemistry for the kitchen. We put [different ingredients] on the scale and see how many ounces [at] that time [it] was, you know, no gram, no kilo, but pound and this thing, ounces so thats how [we converted] from [weight measurements] into teaspoon [amounts].
It took lot of time I think over three years it took to 23 24 Interview, 12 March Indian Delights, Thirteenth Edition, p. We dont just print the recipe on the book. First, we all cook and then we try. A range of local influences, too, are apparent in these pages, as words like brai and ingredients like springbok and gemsbok, indicate.
In these recipes, and others, exchanges with various indigenous and immigrant communities make their appearance as Indian delights. Zuleikha Mayat acknowledges that the Groups labour in this process often depended upon various women who were not members of the Group.
For example, Mayats domestic worker Mildred Mdladla is the first named individual thanked in the acknowledgments in the super edition of Indian Delights, for her quick grasp of [cooking] procedures which also spared me many valuable hours which were sorely needed for recording and writing. The hiring of maids and cooks was, over the decades, an aspect of change in a growing number of households.
Mothers working outside the home found it possible to sub-contract some of their own gendered duties of child-minding, cooking and other chores. In some Muslim households, as in Mayats, these women themselves were trained in cooking apprenticeships, learning the subjective art of tasting an especially important skill in preparation for Ramadan Feasts, when devout members of the household could not check on the flavour of the food they would eat after sundown.
Behind Indian Delights is the labour of bridging taste and calculation, of reconciling culinary diversity with Indian cuisine, and of preserving tradition through a celebration of change. Transcription to print, and bringing cooking methods up to date, meant accounting for innovations in culinary technologies, dietary trends, health wisdom and the daily rhythms of the 26 Interview, Patel, 26 May While compilers of Indian Delights took as axiomatic that [a]s a cook, the Indian housewife is second to none and that [i]n the handling of food, the Indian woman finds fulfilment for her talentsand this is visible when her labour of love appears on the table 27 , they were eager to account for changes in the labour process.
So, for example, Indian Delights notes that: The ancient Indian technique of wrapping fish or meat in banana leaves for stewing, steaming or baking, is rapidly being replaced by the use of tin foil. The contemporary housewife can no longer bother hunting for the banana leaf, even though it may be growing in her back yard. In regards to microwave ovens, Mayat wrote: The signs are there that they will be increasingly used in the future.
For the working mother, this means as more relaxed period with her family once she is at home from work, for she can take pre-planned dishes from the freezer, pop them in the oven, lay the table and call to her family that dinner is ready.
Readers are instructed also in how they can save and conserve money-Remember the adage: A womans savings are equal to a mans earnings. To live up to this motto you must learn to make do, improvise and substitute. Dont download bread crumbs, rather put the stale slices into the oven from which you have just taken out your cake.
The remaining heat will make the bread crisp and you can then crumb it fine. Which reminds us, do switch off the element a little before baking is done or the pot of curry stewed. The remaining heat will do the job for you at no cost. While a special section of Indian Delights provides instructions for mass gatherings, such as weddings Biryani for People or Gajar Halwa for most recipes are designed for daily sustenance of a modestly sized household, with proportions to serve six.
Family size is one indication of changes in family relationships and household make-up. Another is indicated in some of the narratives within the text which convey various aspects of disappearing and 27 28 Indian Delights, 13th Edition, p. Indian Delights, 13th edition, p.
Mothers were usually left only the gravy to spoon over their portion of rice or to mop up with their bread. Often, when father insisted that mother too must have some meat, the latter would pretend that she had gone off meat or had a current digestive problem Of such stuff are mothers made. But it is also an acknowledgement of changing ideals of femininity and womanhood. There is a mix of parody and respect for them days. Notions of what it means to be a modern housewife are cultivated in gently humourous contradistinction to these visions of a gendered Indian past.
Working oral food knowledge into print-based recipes was not a passive or straightforward act of transcription. It involved active intervention and translation by the books creators. As women sensitive to the trends and new opportunities of their own decade, even as they set out to preserve the food traditions of India that could be found in Durban, their work was necessarily transformative. Their own tastes, sensibilities and specific social circumstances were inscribed into what would become the classic archive of South African Indian food traditions.
Household Knowledge to Public Knowledge: Publishing and Marketing In recounting the story of how Indian Delights was published, Mayat and other members use the kind of story-telling devices that indicate that this narrative has become something of an oral tradition itself.
It is a narrative of overcoming various kinds of adversity, of encounters with There is obviously much more to say about gender in relation to these narratives, but we do not explore this fully here in this paper. The manner of telling says something important about the experiences of women housewives, and therefore private sphere people making their way into public domain, the sphere of business, of men.
What is clear that through these experiences, the Womens Cultural Group members gained valuable skills they have subsequently put to use in their collective, civic life. Once the recipes had been gathered, tested and written into a text, the prospect of how to publish it was a new challenge.
None of the Group members had any editorial experience and typing skills were in short supply. Zubie Seedat and Ayesha Vorajee had organized and indexed the recipes; Mariam Motala the Groups president had assisted with the typing; the illustrations were sketch by Fatima Meer, then a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Natal.
Members of the group prepared the dishes and displays of food to accompany the recipes. But, as Mayat recounts, we didnt have sufficient money to go to a publisher so I went to A. Kajees Essop Kajee. The late Essop Kajee was a manager at that time, and I told him, Essop, we need just three of your sponsors or the firms that you deal with and we are going to ask them for help.
I didnt ask A. Kajee to give me anything. So he said, What? A cookery book everybody knows how to cook! I said, I dont know how to cook, and there will be people in future who [will not] know how to cook so we are going to print it, its ready, now give us the names.
Kajee gave the names of three companies [Ilovo sugar, Joko tea and? All three companies gave them the fifty pounds they asked for and one offered them a job, impressed by the way they had marketed their product. Now with start-up capital, they set out to get quotations from printing houses. The first publisher they visited was abrupt and paternalistic: he described their typing as atrocious and did not regard the Fatima Meers whimsical sketches as art.
Meer had designed the sketches with much thought. She took stick figures and made them run and clothed them and dressed them. I was trying to show the Cultural Group as an active group of women. I wanted to show something lighthearted because the Cultural Group were light hearted in their approachI wanted to depict the fun aspectthese women are a breezy lot. They looked so lively. I said, Mr.
Mehta, this is our book, this is what we want. Please, we want you to give us a quotation on that. His price was double what the Group had budgeted and he wanted to charge extra to correct their typing. Worse, when they asked for the manuscript back in order to go and find another quotation, he would not give it to them.
They had to devise a trick to retrieve their manuscript. So we phoned one of the members [Amina Moosa], said, Look, okay we are going there now back for the manuscript, you phone us in exactly half an hour and say that your fatherin-law says to bring that manuscript back immediately. Her father-in-law was Mahmood Moosa. He had nothing to do with it. So now we went back to Mr. Mehta [and] said, Look, I think wed like to we really cant come up with this [money] We will just abandon the whole thing.
And just then Amina phones and he says, Theres a call for you. I said, [mimics speaking on the phone] What here? No, if your father insists and, you know, we made a little drama there, so the man gave us the things back.
Fortunately, the second publisher, Mr. Ramsay was more sympathetic, and did not necessitate the use of plots and dramatics to equalize the balance of gender-power. He said that his editors would take care of typing errors, was substantially cheaper, and allowed them to run a second edition before he had been paid for the first. Best of all, he chuckled at the sketches and thought them enchanting.
But the Group believed that their market was not in the Indian community alone, so Mayat summoned her courage and found, to her surprise, a female ally: I went to CNA in Smith Street. They said, no, the downloader is upstairs. So I went upstairs and there was a woman who was doing something with books and I said, I want to see the downloader of the English books. She looked at me. She said, Im the downloader of the English books. So I said, Look, weve got a book here which we have printed it seems to be very popular amongst Indians but maybe you could also sell it.
So she said, Youll have to leave a copy, let me have a look at it, and she took a copy and immediately they bought The first, page edition of Indian Delights, sold at CNA for 19s. It ran in seven editions 17, copies over nine years. A larger page version of the book was 32 In Womens Cultural Group. Eighteenth Anniversary It contained many new recipes and 85, copies were sold in twelve years.
Sales of the first book meant that there was a decade-long delay in getting the second book on the market. In fact, reprints of the first edition included an explanatory note to their readers: For some time now, we have been contemplating on bringing out a revised and enlarged edition of Indian Delights, but pressure on sales remain unabated and we are compelled to bring out yet another impression on this popular cookery book in its old format.
However, a firm decision has been taken and work is proceeding on a new more comprehensive, highly illustrated edition. April marked an important moment in recognizing the scale of Indian Delights print success.
The Group placed an order for 15, copies of Indian Delights, a major leap from the prudent practice of printing a few thousand copies at a time.
Received in September , every copy of this substantial order was sold out by April Their new publisher, Robinson, made them cede their investment certificate to the New Republic Bank to guarantee payment of R27, the bank had to underwrite payment.
With brisk sales, the Group did not have to call on the NRB, something that members were proud of. The resolution to increase production was a difficult decision as members feared that they may be getting into something we could not handle. They eventually agreed on 25, copies to obtain a cheaper price, which allowed them to sell the book at R4. This new order of Indian Delights was received between August and February , leaving the Group with a colossal bill of R46,, due in May.
As acting Treasurer, Mayat would record at the end of that year: Ladies, our reputation stands so high and I have great pleasure in telling you that Robinson has not asked for any guarantees from us and has even extended terms of payment from 60 to days after delivery. I need not remind members that the success of our Group revolves around brisk sales of Indian Delights.
The committee has already commenced negotiating with bigger outlets. This is an example of the Groups prudent budgeting. Mayat described these efforts to their AGM at the end of that financial year: Thank God for an alert committee. Putting our shoulders to the wheel we started early last year collecting monies from creditors, cajoling merchants to download more books, putting in any cash that came in into safe investments and thereafter even if it was for short terms we scrounged around for favourable investment returns.
The result was that Mrs.
The cheque was posted the next morning and when Mr. Gulgula Recipe.
Poli Recipe. Durban Chicken Curry Recipe. Soji Recipe.
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