It’s Day 45 of the South African lockdown. Happy Mother’s Day.

Jameela at Flavour'z od India on Mothers Day
Lockdown photo 45: A mother at work on Mother’s Day.

I started the day by doing what I do on most Mother’s Days: Opened my laptop and ordered an Amazon gift card for my mom. It’s not the most exciting present, but I know it makes Mom happy because she’ll receive it first thing when she wakes up and she can use it to buy exactly what she wants. Mom almost always knows exactly what she wants. It’s a quality I respect and envy.

I scrolled through the online “cards” — the little graphic Amazon sends with its email gift cards — and decided on a picture of cactuses and succulents. I clicked to select the image and burst into tears.

It’s been years, possibly decades, since I was last with my mom on Mother’s Day. But today it just feels like too much. Mom was planning to visit South Africa in October, and road-trip with me to KZN for my #10SouthAfricanTowns project. Mom and I love doing road trips. This one almost certainly isn’t going to happen this year.

Later on I went to 27 Boxes to buy breadsticks from the Baker Brothers and browse around with my friend Julie. (I know we’re not supposed to visit with friends during Level 4. But I’ve decided socially distanced shopping with friends is okay.)

We wandered into Flavour’z of India, a shop I’d never been in before, since it was one of the only places open in the centre. I would describe Flavour’z of India as a combination spice shop/spaza shop. The front of the shop is filled with beautifully presented spices and other Indian foods. The shelves at the back are lined with cooking supplies and other dry goods, household cleaners, sanitary pads, candles, and cold drinks. There’s something for everyone at Flavour’z of India.

Mother-in-Law spice, a specially formulated masala spice invented by the South African Indian community in Durban. It was on special today.

Julie and I had a longish chat with Jameela Mohammed, the owner of Flavour’z of India and a mother herself. Julie bought frozen samoosas and saffron and I bought bright yellow turmeric for a cake I’m planning. It seemed appropriate to feature Jameela in today’s blog.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially those who are separated from their kids.

Cooking Updates

I waited more than a week for my horned melons (a.k.a. African horned cucumbers) to turn orange as they were supposed to, but it never happened. So I finally cut one of them open on Friday and another one today. They’re beautiful inside.

Cut-open horned melon
I cut the first one length-wise.
Horned cucumber cut in half
Horned melons definitely look prettiest when cut width-wise.

I added the first horned melon to a makeshift chicken salad (South Africans would call it “chicken mayo”) that I made with some leftover chicken thighs. I did my best to scoop the seeds and pulp out with a spoon and stirred them into the salad. This worked very well — the melon has a tangy flavor that worked perfectly in the salad.

Horned melon chicken salad.

I added the pulp and seeds of the second melon to a salad dressing I made today — my usual vinaigrette with olive oil, balsamic, and a few other ingredients. This didn’t work quite as well, simply because I felt like the taste of the melon got lost in the other flavors.

I still have one horned melon left. My verdict: Horned melons are great photography subjects but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them again in the future.

In other cooking news, I made peanut butter bread using this recipe I found on the Boozie Foodie blog. It was so fun and easy to make, and requires very few ingredients. Highly recommended. I ate it topped with cream cheese for breakfast yesterday.

It’s like banana bread, but easier to make and less sweet. Yum.

Today’s Worthy Cause

I’m low on energy again so I encourage you to refer back to my list of previously featured worthy causes, which is now 33 items long. There’s something for everyone there. I’ll have a new cause tomorrow.

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