After learning to cook standing on crates to reach the stove, the passion of two Bonteheuwel women has turned them into celebrities after 80 of their “lekker huiskos” recipes were published in a book.
Koelsoem Kamalie, 68, and Florence ‘Flori’ Schrikker, 63, recently launched Kook Saam Kaaps, which contains easy instructions on making everything from mouth-watering chicken pie to tomato frikkadels.
“It’s just mom, gran and great-gran’s normal, everyday food in one book,” Schrikker explained.
“It’s also friendly on the budget as it’s made with stuff you will always have in your cupboard. Every recipe has a little something to make it phenomenal.”
The duo were discovered when Kamalie’s son contacted Radio Sonder Grense and encouraged them to get in touch with his mother if they wanted delicious recipes. Kamalie then became a regular on Amore Bekker’s afternoon show, Tjailatyd, where her delicious dishes made her a hit with listeners.
Schrikker joined the show last year when Bekker asked for a pickled fish recipe. Kamalie – a devout Muslim – referred them to her Christian friend from the Bonteheuwel Diabetics Club.
She cooked her first pot of rice when she was seven, and had to stand on a crate to see the top of the stove, Schrikker laughed. Kamalie learned in the same way.
“I never thought it would eventually turn me into a celeb! I have always loved cooking and the kitchen is one of my favourite places,” said Schrikker.
Kamalie fondly remembers learning to braise meat on the stove in their home in Claremont at the age of 12, before being taught to cook by her aunt after the forced removals saw them relocate to Bonteheuwel.
The counters were covered in flour, condiments, and cutlery as she took a break from making daltjies.
“A kitchen must always be dirty,” she laughed.
Schrikker never imagined their collection of “huiskos” recipes would one day make it into a book.
“I am so proud of it,” she said, paging through ‘Kook Saam Kaaps’.
“When the book was proposed, we were asked to send 40 recipes each and the best would be selected for print. But they eventually took it all because they couldn’t decide which ones to leave out.”
She stopped at a soup recipe in the cookbook.
“Look at this – this green bowl belonged to my grandmother. Doesn’t it look amazing? Chip and all. She and my mother would be so proud.”
The idea for the book came when Japie Gouws, executive director of the ATKV, heard them on radio and instructed its subsidiary, Lapa Publishers, to compile the recipes to preserve the heritage of the Cape Flats.
Compiling the book was not easy, Schrikker admitted.
“We were asked, ‘How much of this? How much of that?’ But I didn’t know – ons bruin mense gooi mos net alles tesame en dan is dit lekker [us coloureds just throw everything together and it’s delicious].”
Healthy eating is important to Schrikker, who lost a leg, two toes, and half a finger to diabetes.
“I talk about the importance of health and wellness as much as I can so that others don’t reach where I am today,” she said.
If she could invite anyone over for dinner, Schrikker said she would love to cook for Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, her husband Alfonso, and her grandson Yuwin.
At her table Kamalie would like to see former president FW de Klerk, because she “likes that man” and Marko from soap opera ‘7de Laan’ because “hy eet so swaar dit lyk dit is nie lekker nie [he eats with so much difficulty as if the food isn’t nice]”.
President Jacob Zuma and the former DA leader Helen Zille would not get an invitation, she insisted.
“Nee, nee, nee. Hulle het kos, man. Sommer baie kos [No, no, no. They have food, man. Lots of food].”
Schrikker, in the spirit of Easter, shared a tip for making the perfect pickled fish with News24.
“Before putting it all together, steam the fish in vinegar. It will make the flavours pop and add that something extra to your dish.”