Jameela at Flavour'z od India on Mothers Day

Lockdown Journal: Day 45 (Mother’s Day)

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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  • Reply Albert May 10, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Great to see you use the horned cucumbers. I spoke to a knowledgeable horticultural friend and she said the horned cucumber will only turn orange if left on the plant long enough. Something to do with a hormonal interruption once plucked. Very photogenic though.

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Ahhhhhh, that makes sense. Oh well, they still taste ok green.

  • Reply AutumnAshbough May 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Amazon gift card for the win! I have such a tough time buying for my sister in Rwanda. It’s damned near impossible to send anything.

    Happy Cat Mom day to you!

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      Your sister lives in Rwanda?! That’s so cool. I’ve been there twice. Yes it’s impossible – my parents stopped trying to give me gifts long ago. They just send money on PayPal.

      • Reply AutumnAshbough May 10, 2020 at 6:58 pm

        She doesn’t do PayPal! I have to wait until she’s stateside and I give cash.

        • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 7:45 pm

          How can you live overseas and not do PayPal?!

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      PS, happy Mother’s Day to you too 🙂

  • Reply Catrina May 10, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Haha, I wonder what the story is behind the Mother-in-Law masala spice?!
    That circle of horn melon looks beautiful, as does your peanut butter bread! Enjoy.

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      I think the name comes from the stereotype of mother in laws having sharp tongues 😂

      • Reply catji May 10, 2020 at 7:42 pm

        Yes, the original [label] was “mother-in-laws tongue”. The whole mother-in-law thing is big. Specifically new wife going to live with m-in-law.

  • Reply catji May 10, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    And this year, too soon to hope for a vaccine. …I’m trying to avoid hoping. I’ve been thinking, the last few days, when I might be able to do any travel, like maybe this time next year [?]
    And btw, [never mind why,] few days ago I did a quick google search flights Maputo-Lisbon, and found there’s a flight each month, flight scheduled for end of this month – R66K ! Lord! ok, so that’s some sort of special exception, but I think flights are going to cost a lot more.

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 5:12 pm

      Another friend told me a similar price today for flights from SA to the US. It’s too scary to think about 😭

  • Reply Louise Whitworth May 10, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    I have to admit I have never eaten a horned melon, tho also I’m not a big melon fan in general….

    I must say I feel so lucky that John’s parents came to visit us for a month in February, we had a wonderful time tho I do look back sometimes and think I didn’t *appreciate it quite as much as I should have now I know it can be at least a year or more until I see them again!

    I have been thinking at least whenever it is I next go home I’ll go for *at least one month – it will surely be more expensive and I’ll probably need to quarantine and not zip around so much. It will be worth it though when it can happen 🙂

    Have been thinking with causes – Gift of the Givers? They are the biggest disaster relief ngo in Africa. Last week they distributed 100k parcels in South Africa! I’m not sure which places have but a lot malls now have gift of the givers trolleys where you can buy food for the parcels (we did at pick n pay Rosebank mall)

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      That’s a good suggestion! Will definitely feature them. The melon really tastes more like a cucumber.

    • Reply catji May 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm

      Huge respect for Gift of The Givers. Really awesome.

      • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 7:53 pm

        Yeah I’ve also seen/heard amazing things about their work yesterday. I will feature them tomorrow.

  • Reply eremophila May 11, 2020 at 4:21 am

    As I mentioned before, I grew the horned melons once. Yes, had them orange, but only grew them that one time.
    Wasn’t overly excited about them either, just a novelty.

    • Reply 2summers May 11, 2020 at 6:29 am

      Yeah exactly. They are pretty though!

  • Reply David Bristow May 11, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Horned melon is a wonderful food if you live in the desert. Not so much in town. As Crocodile Dundee put it when asked about bush tucker – “Sure you can eat the stuff, but it tastes like $#!^.

  • Reply Lani May 11, 2020 at 6:46 am

    I know. I was supposed to see all my family this year. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen my nephews and nieces, but we have our health and we’re safe and sound, so we have to take comfort in that.

    Looks like you’re enjoying some good eats! Take care, xo

  • Reply Caprice Barbour June 15, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    Ah toasted Chicken Mayo sandwiches! Almost always my first thing to eat when I arrive in South Africa. Tied with Gem squash. I have tried to make them here in Canada and it isn’t the same. I think it is a combination of the chicken and my happiness.

    • Reply 2summers June 16, 2020 at 6:07 am

      Hahaha. You’re right – it just tastes different here.

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