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Chicken and waffles from the Kwoffee Shop in Melville

Chicken and Waffles in Melville (Lockdown Day 62)

It’s Day 62 of the South African lockdown. But I barely care about that right now because I’m just excited to write about cool things I saw and did today in Melville — like I used to do on this blog before there was a pandemic. I know you all want to hear about the chicken and waffles. But first let me tell you the rest. My first stop was the Heritage Baptist Church — one of Melville’s prettiest churches at the top of the hill on 7th Avenue, right next to the Melville Koppies — where my volunteer friends were packing food parcels for distribution tomorrow. I won’t say too much about this because I blogged a lot about the food parcel program last week and I’ll blog about it again tomorrow, when the actual distribution happens. But I want to reiterate what a wonderful group of volunteers this is and how grateful I am to be a part of what they’re doing. And I’m so happy they’ve been able to move their operation to this church, which has a lot more space than Tanya and Sean’s house and will allow them to help more people. After a couple […]

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Trixie the cat

Lockdown Journal: Day 57 (I Got Nothing)

It’s Day 57 of the South African lockdown. I really don’t have much to say. Here’s a picture of a cat. I put a lot of energy into my posts from yesterday and the day before, and woke up today without much motivation left. Also I don’t think I can top yesterday’s experience. A boring lockdown day at home and my run-of-the-mill emotional angst seem like very trivial blog topics compared to a food program feeding hundreds of hungry South Africans. Fortunately it’s Friday and I’m going to continue my new habit of taking Saturdays and Sundays off from lockdown journaling. I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully with renewed vigor. I did receive a beautiful food delivery from Publik Wine Bar today. During the lockdown, Publik has pivoted from selling wine (which, if you believe today’s news, may or may not be for sale in South Africa again…like ever) to selling and delivering fresh produce and other specialty foods. I finally decided to give Publik a try. There are a few items here that I’ve never cooked with before, and I’m super excited about all of it. I actually had to ask a friend to help me identify the vegetable […]

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Gift at Patisserie de Paris

Lockdown Journal: Day 54 (Patisserie Portraits)

It’s Day 54 of the South African lockdown, and my big excitement was going to Patisserie de Paris for croissants. I have blogged about Patisserie de Paris more than once (see this post from my 2017 #Gauteng52 series); it’s one of the best bakeries in Joburg. Normally the Patisserie also has a fantastic sit-down café and French cheese counter, but of course things are different at the moment. The Patisserie is currently selling bread, pastries, and take-away coffee, which you can either have delivered or pick up through the bakery’s front gate. I planned my Patisserie visit to coincide with my friend Pauline and her son Elias. The three of us sat outside on the pavement and enjoyed our treats — cappuccinos for Pauline and me, baby-ccino and chocolate croissant for Elias, who is six — in the bright winter sun. Pauline and I watched Elias build a satellite out of paper cups and plastic spoons. He reluctantly allowed me photograph him in his stylish mask. William, a Patisserie staff member who was working outside cleaning the fountain, asked to be photographed too. It was nice to feel vaguely normal for a change, visiting a favorite foodie hangout and spending […]

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Heather Bitmoji

Lockdown Journal: Day 53 (I’m Back)

It’s Day 53 of the South African lockdown. Did you miss me? It’s good to be back. I’m not sure if numbering these lockdown journal posts makes sense anymore, since I didn’t blog on Day 51 or Day 52. Skipped numbers might bother the OCD-inclined among you (and also me). But at this point I don’t know what else to do so I guess I’ll continue this way. Taking two days off from blogging was sort of nice. It was pleasant to pass the weekend without this daily task hanging over me. But the blogging holiday also gave me more time to obsess over worries I’d previously been pushing aside, such as: Blogging about the same topic every day for 53 straight days is probably not good for the 2Summers Google ranking. Also I don’t understand Google rankings. I am very unproductive, which I know everyone (including me) said was okay at the beginning of lockdown but now I’m starting to feel panicky about it. I have virtually no income and no plan for the future, and am unmotivated to do anything about these rather significant life challenges. The world is falling apart. This hilarious video sums up my lockdown […]

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Laffa bread and hummus from Ba Pita

Lockdown Journal: Day 48 (Gerald’s Magic Bread)

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. […]

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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. 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 […]

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Heather wearing the African jungle mask

Lockdown Journal: Day 44 (Mask Fashion)

Read all my lockdown journal posts. It’s Lockdown Day 44 in South Africa. I bought a new mask. I’m becoming less and less interested in just about everything these days. But I’ve become progressively more interested in face masks. In the span of a few short weeks, these small pieces of cloth or paper that we wrap around half our faces have become the most important piece of clothing in our wardrobes. Like it or not, we’re all required to wear masks (unless you’re the President of the United States or a similar strongman leader, who despite the advice of your own government thinks masks are for sissies). Masks could — depending on which school of thought you buy into — save your life or someone else’s. We’ll be wearing face masks for months or years to come, maybe forever. I’ve started giving a lot of thought to the mask I wear — how it looks, how it feels, how it helps or hinders my ability to move through the world. I also give a lot of thought to the masks I see others wearing. It’s the first thing I notice about a person, and I ponder what character of […]

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Hadeda in my garden

Lockdown Journal: Day 41 (My Airing of Grievances)

Read all my lockdown journal posts. It’s Day 41 of the South African lockdown. Today I would like to air my grievances. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the “Airing of Grievances” was made famous by Seinfeld character Frank Costanza in the 1990s. The Airing of Grievances usually takes place during the fake holiday of Festivus, on 23 December. Festivus the holiday has its own website with a page devoted to the Airing of Grievances. We’re nowhere near Festivus season, but I think COVID-19 deserves an Airing of Grievances all its own. Here I go: Exercising under lockdown sucks. I can’t skip rope due to a persistently sore achilles tendon. Running — or even walking fast — while wearing a mask is impossible. Apparently running in a “buff” (I hate that word, it makes me want to barf) is easier, and while I’ve received countless “buffs” at various races and events over the years, I can no longer find any of them. Hence I am still run-walking laps around my home for cardio exercise. Yesterday Caxton Publishing announced it is closing its magazine business, which is terrible news for all of the people working for the ten prominent […]

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Trixie and me in the bathroom window

Lockdown Journal: Day 20 (Perfect Circles)

If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day (now 35-day) lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts. Welcome to Lockdown Day 20. Twenty days, each of which feels like a year. It’s like two decades of lockdown. For me, it’s been a day of circles. I spent the first half of today feeling unproductive and hating myself for it — a mental game I often play even in “normal” times. I didn’t exercise (sorry Xolani), I didn’t follow a routine, I didn’t do my taxes. I tried to make progress with a story I’m working on but mostly didn’t. I did a lot of dishes. (I can’t figure out how I’m generating so many of those lately.) I swept the floor of the swimming pool but the algae wouldn’t come off. I thought about going food-shopping — I haven’t left the house in nearly ten days — but I’ve ordered a lot of food online and realized there’s nothing I urgently need. I felt useless and a bit desperate, like my mind and body were running in circles. The tide started to turn when my bell rang […]

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African iris in the garden on easter

Lockdown Journal: Day 17 (Happy Easter)

If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day (now 35-day) lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts. Welcome to Lockdown Day 17: Easter Sunday. I really put a lot of heart and soul into yesterday’s post, and today I seem to be suffering from an emotional hangover. So I’ll keep this one short. It’s Easter! Easter hasn’t really been a significant holiday in my life since I stopped believing in the Easter Bunny, and many years recently I’ve let it come and go like any other day. However, thanks to Friday’s Munching Mongoose delivery, I had a surplus of artisan bread, eggs, and milk in my house this morning. I also found a large, unopened bottle of Vermont maple syrup in the back of my pantry. So I decided to make French toast. This breakfast was delicious and put me in a good mood. Also, I gathered a bunch of non-perishable food items and a packet of Woolworth’s hot cross buns, and put them outside on the sidewalk with a “Happy Easter!” sign. I figured someone hungry would come by and take the food. I checked back […]

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Fan Fan the car guard outside Cheese Gourmet

Joburg COVID-19 Lockdown Journal: Day 11

If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts. It’s South African Lockdown Day 11. I went outside again. My main task today was to go out and shop for a few things. I heard recently that the Cheese Gourmet — one of my favorite Joburg food shops, which I’ve blogged about here and here and here — was open during lockdown. I have a significant supply of cheese at home so didn’t need to buy any more, unfortunately. But I’ve been craving fresh bread, olives, and spicy chorizo, all of which Cheese Gourmet has. And I’m making it a goal to support local businesses as much as possible during lockdown. So I got into my car and drove to Linden, two suburbs over from Melville. It was my first time driving in 12 days. Normally it would take me about eight minutes to drive to Cheese Gourmet but I took a slow, circuitous back route, because: 1) I wanted to see what was happening around the neighborhood; and 2) I’m paranoid about running into cops (probably an irrational concern, as […]

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Bamboo Thai, one of my favorite Asian restaurants

Is It Still Okay to Blog About Restaurants?

I’m not trying to be trite or make light of a serious situation. I’m just legitimately baffled and sad and unsure what to say or do about basically everything. For the purposes of this post I’m wondering if it’s currently acceptable to: A) Eat meals in restaurants; B) Order food from restaurants; and/or C) Write a blog encouraging others to go to a restaurant. I have no f*cking idea about about A or B but I’ve decided to go ahead with C. Bamboo Thai is a great restaurant serving solidly good Thai and other Asian cuisine. Also it’s in Melville and three blocks from my house. If there’s any restaurant that it’s still okay for me to go to, and blog about, Bamboo Thai is it. Bamboo Thai is at the corner of 5th Street and 4th Avenue (next to Winner Winner), where the Dizzy Lizzy laundromat used to be. The menu is mostly Thai (pad Thai, green and yellow curry, massaman curry, etc.) but they also have sushi, dim sum, and poke bowls. My favorite dishes are the pad Thai and the salmon poke bowl. The atmosphere at Bamboo Thai is extremely pleasant, with giant windows opening onto the […]

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