It’s my birthday! Well, not really. It was my birthday last Sunday but I am still celebrating.
Christmas and birthdays mean more cookbooks because, you see, I am at that stage in life when I not only have everything I need, but everything I want. But that is not quite true… one can never have enough cookbooks.
As a consequence, friends and family resort to cookbooks as presents… and I am glad they do! I got some beauties this year but one, in particular, was a bit special. Not only are there fine recipes in it but there is also lots of life-changing advice for the “traditionally built woman”.
If you are wondering what I am rabbiting on about, it is, of course, Mma Ramotswe’s Cookbook: Nourishment for the Traditionally Built.
My favourite piece of advice is an excerpt from Blue Shoes and Happiness. It is a conversation between Mma Potokwani and Mma Ramotswe.
“Mma Ramotswe!” she exclaimed. “It you go on a diet, then what are the rest of us to do? What will all the other traditionally built ladies think if they hear about this? How can you be so unkind?”
“Unkind?” asked Mma Ramotswe. “I do not see how this is unkind.”
“But it is,” protested Mma Potokwani. “Traditionally built people are always being told by other people to eat less. Their lives are often a misery. You are a well-known traditionally built person. If you go on a diet, then everybody else will feel guilty. They will feel that they have to go on a diet too, and that will spoil their lives.”
So just remember, if you are traditionally built (well known or not) it would be very unkind of you to go on a diet. Given this advice, I have scrapped all new year resolutions. Who wants to be unkind?
The book has lots of wonderful recipes, my favourites being Mopane worm stew (there are also explanations on how to dry and boil them) and Violet Sepotho Tail (which recipe requires 1lb of crocodile tail). Additionally, there is a multitude of choices on how to prepare pumpkin.
I am sad to say that many of the ingredients may be a bit difficult to get in Perth but for lovers of The No.1 One Ladies’ Detective Agency novels, you are in for a treat. There is a recipe for the Persuasive Fruitcake that Mma Potokwani uses to entice Mr JLB Matekoni to fix the orphan farm pump and an explanation of the significance of redbush tea and donuts.
If you are a lover of the series or a collector of Botswana cookbooks (I have to admit, it is my first), then you will love Mma Ramotswe’s Cookbook. It even has a forward by Alexander McCall Smith.
I will leave you with one last bit of wisdom from Phuti:
“Good cooking makes people happy … And it makes them full.” (The Miracle at Speedy Motors).