Load Shedding doing it on Purpose

Cooking- load shedding
Free photo 5262769 © Vangelis Liolios – Dreamstime.com

Load shedding is a reality in South Africa. It is what it is! When your suburb goes dark, what do you do? Do you complain or do you use the opportunity of being disconnected from technology to reconnect with your family?

Long ago

Once upon a time, there was a large majority of people in this country who lived permanently without electricity. They cooked over an open fire and children did their homework by candlelight!

Apparently we are now more advanced as most homes have electricity.

dinner boiling in a kettle on a burning fire Free photo 6186324 © Sergey Kravtsov – Dreamstime.com

It must be so frustrating for parents who once lived like this. They did their schoolwork by candlelight, they cooked food either on an open fire or paraffin stove.

These parents now have to listen to their children complain about not having Wifi or TV/satellite and having to go to bed early because it is too dark to do their homework.

I know I get irritated when this happens in our home and I am one of those people privileged to have grown up in a home with electricity.

Free photo 6168487 © Alice Herden – Dreamstime.com

One of the things about being an observant Jew is that I disconnect weekly, on purpose. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/mealplanning/home-kashering-life/

Load shedding on purpose

Sabbath for those of the Jewish faith begins on a Friday at sunset and ends on a Saturday after sunset, so usually around 25 hours.

During this time, as hard as it is for people to believe, we physically use no electronics, this means no cellphones, no TV, no radio. We refrain from using the stove or switching on lights. We don’t drive and we don’t go to the store.

In fact, we disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with a spiritual world and our friends and families.

We do make use of technology. Most families will have their main lights or individual lamps on time switches and an urn going for hot water for tea. The food is cooked before the Sabbath and then kept warm in a warmer/hostess trolley. 

If you want a warm meal on Saturday, the slow cooker is turned on for the whole 25 hours.

 Yes, it is frustrating when the electricity goes out just before Sabbath and we have to eat a cold supper in the dark.

Just braai

Braai - load shedding
Free photo 3240885 © Juan Carlos Zamora – Dreamstime.com

In reality, though, it isn’t that difficult. I have, and I am sure many others too, made Sabbath dinner on the braai and kept it warm by wrapping it in newspaper and blankets, the food may not be piping hot but it is warm.

We live in South Africa, braaing is what we know.

Now I have a gas stove so my biggest complaint is that there is no hot water for morning tea on Saturday.

We’re load shedding on purpose. I know there are families out there, not Jewish families, who are doing similar things.

They are disconnecting from technology for a few hours each week as a family in order to reconnect.

We joke about meeting the people living in our homes and how nice they seem to be.  I see it with my family all the time. Everyone is so busy with work and school that we don’t slow down to talk to each other.

Getting to know your family and friends

I love having visitors over on a Saturday for lunch and we actually talk, no one is watching their phones for messages.

Everyone is engaged in conversation. My teenagers often have friends over to play board games.

Start simple, ban technology during dinner. Eventually, you can introduce longer periods of no technology into your home.https://www.news24.com/Tags/Topics/load_shedding_survival_guide

I would love to know if you have limits for your family or if you have technology-free times at home. Has it made a difference in your family life?

Braai Heritage

Braai  Heritage 2

Braai heritage, what’s that? What happened to heritage day? How did it become known as National Braai day? Is this our heritage.

Ask any South African to describe a braai and you will get many different explanations because a braai is not a barbecue!

Heritage day
National Braai Heritage day

There is no recorded reason why Heritage day has become National Braai day. This is just an opinion piece, that has some tips on how to keep the costs of celebrating down. We now have a braai heritage!

The languages

South Africa is full of history. With triumphs and failures aplenty. We have 11 official and 15 unofficial languages! English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Northern Sotho, Tswana, Sesotho, Tsonga, Swati, Venda, Ndebele are the 11 Official languages.

The other languages are South African Sign Language, which differs fairly significantly from sign languages of other countries.

Fanagalo (a mix of English, Zulu and Afrikaans, spoken predominantly on the mines).

Khilobedu or Sepedi/Lobedu is a Northern Sotho dialect

Sindebele or Northern Ndebele or Matabele is a language spoken by the Nguni people found near Zimbabwe.

Finally, Siphuthi (Phuthi) which is spoken by the Nguni people of Lesotho.

Then we also have the European immigrants who brought their own languages across to South Africa. Greek, Portuguese, Yiddish, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu,  Dutch, French, German and Italian. Not to mention Arabic and Hebrew.

The Heritage

With such a melting pot of different cultures, it is hard to have a unified Heritage Day, so the one thing all South African residents have in common is the Braai! Therefore Braai  Heritage Day.

Cooking over an open flame does not begin to describe a braai, neither can one describe the atmosphere around the braai. A braai can be held anytime, anywhere and for any reason or no reason at all.

It is truly a South African Heritage created from the melting pot of cultures that make up our unique country.

The braai

What makes the perfect braai? Opinions vary but the majority agree. For a perfect braai, you will need meat, mielies or pap, beer, wine and whisky/Brandy and salads. Not necessarily in that order.

The debate rages over if a gas braai is really a braai or if using wood, coals and paper make a braai is the best.

Braai  Heritage 3
Wood or coal?

Whatever your choices, make a menu plan for the day. How many people are you having over? Are you having starters?

What meat will you be making, chicken, boerewors, steak, chops or all of this? Are you having pap, how much tomato relish will you need? Mielies on your menu, will they be done on the stove or the braai? Is a potjie and option?

Braai  Heritage 4
Are you making a poitjie?

Now for dessert? Ice cream or melktert, koeksisters or jelly and custard?

Drinks are important, so what drinks are you serving and to who? Do you have fridge space, do you have enough ice?

Remember once you have your list, check for specials at your local butcher or supermarket. Buy only what you need. Check Wuhu and SnapnSave for discounts and coupons as well as your loyalty cards from your various stores. There are sure to be specials everywhere you look.

Read my previous post Do you celebrate National Heritage Day?

How are you celebrating your heritage?

Jozi Blue-The coffee experience

My youngest daughter and I went to my favourite coffee place. Jozi Blue, a small unassuming coffee shop, in the heart of Glenhazel, Johannesburg.

Jozi Blue for great coffee

I must admit, I am not a great coffee drinker at all, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you about the different beans and their flavours that are on offer for you to drink there, but the aficionado’s rave about the choices. It is not the décor that draws me to this shop either, because that is mostly plastic tables and chairs. It is the vibe, to use a much abused cliché.

Plain simple decor, because the coffee is more important
Plain simple decor, because the coffee is more important

When you walk in, you are greeted like an old friend, whether you were there yesterday, 6 months ago or it is your first time!

I have to admit that it feels like Jozi Blue has always been around, but that’s possibly because of the accolades they have already accumulated in the fairly short time they have been open. They celebrated their 3rd birthday this year.

They have certainly made their impact on the coffee world here in Johannesburg!

Pippa Rowney of Coffey and Cake blog, visited Jozi Blue on trip to Jo’burg and raved about it in her blog http://www.coffeyandcake.com/2014/08/joziblue! Listed as one of the top 10 coffee shops in Jo’burg by Travelstart http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/10-best-johannesburg-coffee-shops/. Listed at #2 on the Tripadvisor website for coffee and tea places in Johannesburg, how can anyone not want to try their coffee?

Shmuel and his staff really seem to enjoy what they do.

The staff on duty today, really seemed to enjoy their work
The staff on duty today, really seemed to enjoy their work

One thing you can’t do is leave without eating. They are not a restaurant and do not claim to be, they are a coffee shop that offers food, and what yummy food it is too.

I absolutely love their muffins, the caramel muffin is my best, actually maybe it is the Bar One muffin, or maybe the Top Deck muffin, I can’t really tell you as I like them all, however, it usually takes me a while to finish one if I am eating it on my own as they are enormous.

Delicious top deck muffin
Delicious top deck muffin

Today I had a pizza, not a regular pizza, but a banting pizza. If you don’t know what banting is, you obviously don’t live in South Africa, it is a new phenomenon of low carb, high fat eating for weight loss developed by controversial Dr. Tim Noaks.

My daughter had an ice tea.

My Macchiato, I love the little pictures in the cups
My Macchiato, I love the little pictures in the cups

The owner, Shmuel Montrose introduced a brilliant idea, or rather 2 brilliant ideas. The first a pre-loaded card, this is basically a card that you put money into and you can then get your coffee using that, the more money you pre-load the bigger your coffee discount, so when you don’t have cash, you can still get coffee. Snapscan is also available to pay with your smartphone.

My coffee card
My coffee card

The second thing he introduced is the Whatsapp order, you order your coffee via the Whatsapp line and then he will reply to say your order was received, all you have to do is drive passed and fetch it! I’ve driven passed in the mornings and seen them bring the coffee out to the people in their cars.

Whatsapp your order and they bring it to your car!
Whatsapp your order and they bring it to your car!

Go in early and it is filled with people having meetings, mid-morning its more meetings and ladies having coffee, in fact it seems to be full most of the day. There are plenty of plugs for your computers and WiFi available too. I have actually gone to work there when my ADSL line went down for a few days.

They have spent their time investing in their main ingredient, coffee, so if you want a chic, fancy coffee shop, don’t go there, however, if you want good coffee and tasty eats, it’s the place to go.

Serving dishes already needing to be replenished and it was only 10 am
Serving dishes already needing to be replenished and it was only 10 am

They also offer a fish braai (barbecue) every Sunday, which smelled absolutely amazing when I was there today. I may have to dump the kids (they don’t like fish) and take myself out to lunch one day. I might take my husband, we’ll see.

Most Sunday's you will be able to have braaied (barbecued) fish
Most Sunday’s you will be able to have braaied (barbecued) fish

For those who want it, they also offer a non-dairy option and Chalov Yisroel.

Dairy free options and banting options are available.
Dairy free options and banting options are available.

Take yourself for a true coffee experience.

The Jozi Blue staff with owner Shmuel Montrose front left.
The Jozi Blue staff with owner Shmuel Montrose front left.