It’s Day 48 of the South African lockdown. I’m better today than yesterday, mainly because I’ve discovered Gerald’s Magic Bread.
I’ve mentioned previously that my most-read blog post of 2020 is Spar’s Magic Bread, a post I wrote in 2012 about baking bread from pre-made dough sold at Spar grocery store. Everyone wants to bake bread during lockdown (including me) and bread-baking supplies are often in short supply. So it’s no surprise people have been googling this topic a lot lately.
At the beginning of lockdown I thought it would be fun to recreate that 2012 bread post, but every time I’ve gone to Spar I haven’t found any pre-made dough.
A few days ago, I saw on Instagram that Ba Pita — a beloved shawarma restaurant in Melville — was selling uncooked pita and laffa dough along with hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, and a few other dishes for delivery. I jumped right away, mainly because I’ve been craving hummus and every time I go to the store I can’t find any. I ordered some dough too.
Gerald, Ba Pita’s owner, dropped the goods off at my door yesterday evening — just when I was feeling at my lockdown lowest.
I had no idea how to make pita or laffa (a round flatbread used to make sandwich wraps). But the dough was only R20 (a little over a dollar) so I figured what the heck.
This afternoon I googled “how to make laffa bread”, read half of one article, then watched a one-minute video Gerald whatsapped me when I placed my order.
I cleaned my kitchen counter (first time in a while), took the dough out of the fridge, and sprinkled some flour on the counter. I broke off a tennis-ball-sized chunk of dough, rolled it flat with a wine bottle (I don’t have a rolling pin), then heated the dough for a minute or two on each side in an oiled pan on the stove.
Less than ten minutes from when I started, I was sitting on my patio dipping pieces of piping hot laffa into hummus. Magic. I felt instantly less depressed.
Since I already had a bunch of flour on the counter, I rolled out three more pieces of dough and cooked them for later. Four laffas for R20! (Making laffa from scratch doesn’t look terribly hard either.)
For now, Gerald is planning to continue these deliveries twice a week in the Melville area. If you’d like to order, send him a WhatsApp on 065-802-2605.
COVID-19 in South Africa
South Africa has now had more than 11,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 206 deaths. The president is scheduled to make a speech to the nation at 8:30 p.m. tonight, and many are speculating he’ll announce a drop to Lockdown Level 3.
I don’t think much will change for me under Level 3. But my personal hope is the government will get rid of the exercise time restrictions and un-ban cigarette and alcohol sales. I’d like to buy wine and exercise whenever I want (preferably in a park, but I don’t think that’s happening). I’d also like everyone on social media to calm the f*ck down (also probably not happening though). Let’s see.
Today’s Worthy Cause
Thanks to reader Claire Waterhouse for recommending Streetlight Schools, an education non-profit with an innovative school for vulnerable children in Jeppestown, Joburg CBD. I visited the Streetlight School a few years ago and it seems like such a great program.
Streetlight is currently distributing food parcels to dozens of families in Jeppestown who have been left destitute due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information and to donate, click here.