The Curious Cook

The perfection of the pumpkin family

What is the dish that you associat with your earliest food memory? I love to think of what children long for, drinking cocoa by the fire after school like in an Enid Blyton story. In the classic Robert Louis Stevenson poem Young Night Thought a boy dreams of a procession of exotic characters marching past his mind’s eye as he falls asleep. My procession of nursery favourites would include dhal with spinach paneer from India, plum jam dumplings for the Austrian/Swiss Germans, pasta with pancetta and peas for those Italian bambini, vetkoek with mince or mieliepap with tomato onion sauce for us South Africans and roast chicken for almost everybody.

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In my battered 1960s copy of “A Child’s Garden of Verses” beautifully illustrated by Hilda Boswell, all kinds of dreamy things happen such as this vision above and a girl falling asleep in a boat that rocks her to sleep. Photo: Anna-Karien Otto

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