My mother, whom I love dearly, is not the world’s best cook. I, her youngest progeny, am even less inclined to inspire rapturous eyerolling with my culinary creations.

But, she being a stay-at-home mother, and I being unwilling to die of food-induced boredom, have both found ourselves in situations where we’re called upon to produce something marginally more inspiring than pasta with packet sauce followed by jelly and custard, without making a painful flop.

As a wonderful gift to me, my mother painstakingly typed out every tried-and-tested recipe she has in her arsenal so I might one day produce a meal with dignity.

This is my way of saying thank you, by attempting every recipe, adding comments, taking photos and compiling it into a hard cover book so it may be passed down to whatever member of the next generation my family happens to produce.

This book will take its name from the pile of printouts my mother gave me: Burnt Offerings.

Here’s the foreword from my mom:

A recipe book by a non-cook sounds scary.

BUT, I figured, the recipes of a non-cook have to be wonderfully good for the non-cook to use them over and over again.

They have to be – without fail – easy, quick, not fussy and 100% fool proof.

And THAT, I thought, is the best reason for compiling a recipe book.

I am also typing all kinds of Stuff on the flip sides – for various reasons:

a) Because I have learnt that Leaving the kitchen while the cooking/baking is in Process, is Not the Best Thing to Do.
b) That paging through the Telkom telephone directory becomes Very boring Very soon.
c) That Scribbling and Doodling in the home made telephone directory causes Chaos to any Unenlightenend Beings Trying to look up a number.
d) Because I LIKE reading Stuff!
e) Because I love you…

I will also type out my mom’s Stuff for inclusion into the book (and blog), and I’ll add some of my own.

Let me give a quick explainer on that home made phone directory my mom refers to.

Back before cellphones, we had a home telephone directory in our kitchen. This was, obviously, full of the phone numbers of friends, family members, doctors, etc. But this book wasn’t the neatest. Things were scrawled in in various handwritings, upside down, different pen colours, etc. It was also the closest piece of paper anyone had handy when on the phone, so it started filling up with doodles, or mysterious notes without reference. Then, the comments came.

Oh, those comments.

My mother, sister and I (and to some degree the rest of my family) would regularly page through the phone book, making sarcastic comments about the denizens of the phone book.

It became a tradition, and, in some way, inspired this book.

That tattered book full of obsolete phone numbers is a family heirloom, and something we still love reading through, decades later. Which is what I want to attempt here. Though, hopefully, full of information with a longer lifespan than the phone number of the doctor I had when I was in primary school.

If, over time, this book collects notes and comments, then it will have fulfilled its purpose.