I love writing in Afrikaans. It is an incredibly expressive language and you can describe feelings and emotions not only with flair, but also with wit, and in such a way that you can make anything less insulting by putting a ‘tjie’ at the end of the word…
I wrote the following story a very, very long time ago when my English was only suitable around a kitchen table. Tonight I have discovered this, and other, long-lost stories as I cleared some space on my hard drive. I decided to plug it into Google Translate with ridiculously hilarious results!
Firstly I will post the original Afrikaans version here for those of you that actually can decipher a word or two followed by the proper English translation (as best I can), then lastly, just for laughs the Google translation. Hold on to your hat!!
Die reën drup-drup saggies in die skemerte. Die televisie flits prentjies van diere in die Serengeti en Ma se naaimasjien swoer in die agtergrond. Die ‘Sunday blues’ het ingeskop… Een vir een gaan skrop ons die naweek se pret af vir ‘n nuwe, vol verrassings week wat wag.
Ek hoor Pa ritsel in die kombuis. Ek loer om die draai en sien die blou japon wat bestanddele bymekaarmaak. Die groen oë rus deur die bril op my helder pienk ‘homemade’ japon.
“Antjies, ek is lus vir melkkos.” Net dit.
In ‘n oogwink verskyn die dubbelkoker vanuit onder die wasbak. Die ‘Kook met Melk’ word nadergetrek en die bladsye slaan al sommer vanself oop by ‘Lui huisvrou melkkos’.
Ek roer dat die melk staan en pa was skottelgoed. Ma kom stel ondersoek in na die gewerskaf in die kombuis. “Los die skottelgoed, Bêrend. Ek sal dit was,” klink haar stem deur die gekletter van potte en panne.
“Ek is klaar,” klink Pa met duiweltjies in sy stem.
Die konkoksie op die stoof word stadigaan dikker. Die soet geur van kookmelk styg in jou neusgate op en kom sit op jou tong. Die geklingel van poeding bakkies kondig aan dat aandete gereed is. Almal kom staan gretig rondom die stoof: elkeen hou sy bakkie vir ‘n skeppie soete verleiding. Ons sit om die eetblad in die kombuis en die atmosfeer raak stil. Die reën drup-drup in die donkerte buite en binne word die koue, nat ‘Sunday blues’ geleidelik verdryf deur ‘n bakkie warm, soet, kaneel-belaaide lekkerte. Trooskos op sy beste.
The raindrops drips gently in the twilight. The television flashes with pictures of animals in the Serengeti and Mum’s sewing machine zwishes in the background. The Sunday blues has kicked in… One by one we all get ready for the surprises that the new week will bring by scrubbing off the weekend’s dirt before we wind down before bed.
I hear Dad rustling around in the kitchen. I peek around the corner of the kitchen doorway to see the blue nightgown gathering up ingredients. His green eyes rests through his glasses to where I stand with my bright pink homemade nightgown.
“Anna, I’m in the mood for melkkos”. Just that.
In the blink of an eye the Bain Marie appeared from underneath the kitchen sink. The ‘Cook with Milk’ recipe book is pulled from the bookshelf and the pages falls automatically open at the right recipe: ‘Lazy housewife melkkos’. A tried and tested recipe on many a rainy Sunday night.
As I’m stirring the milk dad is doing the dishes. Mum enters the kitchen to see what the fuss is all about. “Leave the dishes, Bêrend. I will wash it in a bit,” she orders dad through the clattering sound of pots and pans.
“I’m done”, dad is saying this, his eyes twinkling triumphantly.
The concoction on the stovetop is gradually thickening. The sweet smell of the boiling milk rises up your nostrils and gently settles onto your tongue’s tastebuds. The gentle tinkling sound of the pudding bowls announces that the late night supper is ready. Everyone is gathering keenly around the stovetop to get their fair share of the sweet, milky temptation. In silence we sit around the table, the atmosphere somewhat sombre. Outside the rain is dripping away in the darkness. Inside our home the cold Sunday blues-mood is gently lifted by bowlsful of warm, sweet cinnamon-laden goodness.
Comfort food at its best.
The rain dripping-dripping gently in the twilight. The television flash pictures of animals in the Serengeti and Ma’s sewing machine swam in the background. The Sunday Blues has kicked in. One by one we’re screaming for the weekend’s fun for a new, full of surprise weeks awaiting.
I hear Daddy in the kitchen. I look around and see the blue japon that combines ingredients. The green eyes rest through the glasses on my bright pink ‘homemade’ japon.
“Oh, I’m lucky for milk chocolate.” Just that.
In a glance the duct appears from under the sink. The ‘Boil with Milk’ is approached, and the pages are already open to ‘Lazy housewife dairy cow’.
I stir the milk and father was dishwasher. Mom comes to investigate the wreckage in the kitchen. “Leave the dishes, Bêrend. I’ll be it, “sounds her voice through the clatter of pots and pans.
“I’m done,” Dad sounds with devils in his voice.
The concoction on the stove is getting thicker. The sweet smell of boiling milk rises in your nostrils and puts on your tongue. The whining of pudding bakkies announces that dinner is ready. Everybody comes eagerly around the stove: everybody keeps his bowl for a jerk of sweet temptation. We put the food sheet in the kitchen and the atmosphere gets stuck. The rain dripping in the darkness outside and inside the cold, wet ‘Sunday blues’ is gradually driven by a baking hot, sweet, cinnamon-laden delicious. Trout food at its best.
Melkkos is a comfort food. Often consumed on a Sunday evening when you’ve had a very large lunch, but still feels a little peckish.
In the olden times my ancestors (grandma included) made melkkos by first making a pasta dough before rolling it out and slicing it into long tagliatelle-like strands. Then we will boil some milk with sugar on a very gentle heat over a pot of water before putting the dough strands in to cook until silky and soft and thickened nicely. This is then served with tons of cinnamon as a light supper.
However, as the generations went on and people get busier, time was getting sparse. A recipe book has seen the light that revolutionised the way my family cooks melkkos. Since I’ve moved to England I had to adapt the recipe to make it even easier to have a quick, comforting Sunday snack.
I start by heating a teaspoon of butter until it has melted. To this I add a teaspoon of plain flour and a pinch of salt. Then, just like a good béchamel, I gradually stir in a cup of milk. As I am now a bit more health-conscious I add a couple of squeezes of honey into the mixture. Once it is completely thickened and cooked through I sprinkle some cinnamon over the top before curling up on the sofa under a comfy blanket.
Best comfort food ever!