(The cover of Alida's Book Simple & Delicious. Look out for it.
And if you fancy buying the Afrikaans version, Heerlik & Maklik look out for the tomato pasta cover)
(The Bollywood lamb chops recipe. Amazing! Jacques ate it 3 times in 12 days.
Twice at our house and once at a friend's. He requested it again this week.)
I got to write the foreword for Alida Ryder's new book. I'm pretty impressed with myself as she has a great many friends in the industry. Foodies who cook far better than I do. People with whom she talks about food and flavours. I'm afraid to say that's that not quite the case when we get together. Firstly I make her drink enormous amounts of tea, something she doesn't usually do, but I need tea when I talk. And we talk. And so I make tea. And so we drink it. Then she has to stroke Max's ears and reassure him that he is her favourite black labrador in all the world. (He would, of course, prefer to be the only labrador in her world, but times are tough and he has some strong competition.) And then we chat. About everything but food. And afterwards we plan where we're going to eat. And once we settle down to our meal, we acknowledge the food. Respectfully. And then we chat. About everything but food.
And so here is my non-foodie foreword to her brilliantly simple book with it's incredibly delicious recipes.
Congratulations darling girl. Your book is beautiful. x
Unlike other brides, Alida never minded being photographed with a mouthful of wedding cake. I know this, not because I attended her wedding, but because she once used it as a Twitter profile pic. You want to be friends with a girl who likes her food and is not ashamed of showing it.
I never quite understood the whole social media /twitter / blog thing. That is until it happened to me. Until I started reading blogs and realized it was like reading somebody’s diary, which I do admit appeals to the voyeur and snoop in me. And Google is a Godsend when you can type in ‘easy pork belly recipe’ and hundreds of appropriate entries pop up, you know you’ve come to the right place. Or when you find yourself returning to certain blogs, like Simply Delicious because you know you’ll always find inspiration in them when faced with the what-shall-I-make-for-supper- dilemma. I also started making friends online, virtual friends who were uncomplicated in their affection and encouragement -friends who showed pictures of themselves with a mouthful of wedding cake. Friends I wanted to meet in person. Friends like Alida.
Before I met her, I, like other followers of her blog, knew quite a bit about her. I knew that she dated older boys at school because she was so much taller than the boys in her class. I knew that she loved clothes and make-up; that she fell in love with the man who is now her husband when she was 17 years old. And that she became a mother of twins in her early twenties. I knew that she loves her father and brother very much and that not a day goes by that she doesn’t miss her mother, a brilliant lecturer in criminology whose interest in food was way less than her daughter’s, but who left her with a collection of recipe books from which she bakes clementine cakes. I also knew that Rooibos tea reminds Alida of her grandmother. I knew these things because Alida is such an honest writer; she knows that food and love and emotion are intimately connected, and so she, with open-hearted generosity, shares her life and her loves with us. She does the same with her recipes. Recipes that work. I know this because I’ve tried them. Successfully. I’ve always liked Alida's enthusiasm for food, her generosity in preparing it and her authentic approach to the sometimes rather stuffy and pretentious world of the culinary arts. Having met her, I love her enthusiasm for life, her capacity for joy and her gratitude for the good things that come her way. And I know that this book; conceived, created, written, styled and photographed by Alida is a reflection of herself. And that is recommendation enough.
Alida reminds me of why I love food. Because the making thereof is a gift. Because it tastes good. Because it always makes me feel better. And because, sometimes, it really is ok to want more.
What You Need To Know
Who: Alida Ryder
Book: Simple & Delicious Recipes From The Heart
Publishers: Penguin Books