Spicing up our lives
The history and culture of Cape Malay food
Cape Malay tastes and recipes have had a lasting and delicious impact on how SA eats
One of the passions of legendary cook, food consultant and caterer Cass Abrahams is the history of the Cape Malay community. "I truly believe the history of our people is told through the tastes and aromas of our cuisine," she says. "It is reflected in our food. Wars, joys, laughter — even geography, weather conditions, and therefore available ingredients — are all tied up in a plate of food." Abrahams is the author of two saluted books (The Culture and Cuisine of the Cape Malays and Cass Abrahams Cooks Cape Malay: Food from Africa) as well as the recipient of lifelong membership of the SA Chefs Association. She was born and raised in Gauteng, and marrying into a Cape Malay Muslim community was furthest from her mind when she went to study at the University of the Western Cape. "I found myself not only married to a Muslim man but also part of a community that was completely strange to me," she says. She explains the background: "The Cape was colonised by the Dutch East India Company...