Don’t expect anything glamorous or high class here. I was scrolling through my archives, getting rid of pictures as I went, when I realised that a number have got something to do with food or drink – all have been taken with my cell phone, so must have been taken to share with members of my scattered family. The random sample will begin with me preparing a camping meal on a particularly icy, windy night:

I warned you not to expect anything glamorous! A more genteel moment came with enjoying a cup of tea with a slice of cake:

I suspect the teapot and cup were the main focus – a gift from grandchildren. Another quietly domestic scene is a glass of wine at the start of our hard lockdown – when none of us realised just how long that confinement was going to last!

We didn’t realise then either that the sale of alcohol was going to be restricted on an on-off basis for well over a year. It is during the past year too that South Africans have had to bid farewell to many of their favourite magazines: no farewell, this is the final issue, sad to be leaving you in the lurch – they just vanished from the shelves!

There is nothing like home-baked biscuits to satisfy the need for a little sweetness. I baked many batches of ginger biscuits during the first few months of the pandemic – as you can see, some were snitched before they could even cool down:Here is some flat bread I made for a hasty lunch one day:

Lastly, an all too rare opportunity to eat out:

This was in celebration of my birthday – several months after the event!



We were chatting about word and number puzzles and how they can be used with young children in a variety of ways. One was in terms of encouraging a young child to work to the best of his/her ability. If you give each letter of the alphabet a number, for example i.e. A – Z = 1 – 26, then you can play with letters and numbers to achieve different outcomes.

The relevant example in this context – given in terms of percentages – would be:

EFFORT = 5 + 6 + 6 + 15 + 18 + 20 = 70%
HARD WORK = 8 + 1 + 18 + 4 + 23 + 15 + 18 + 11 = 98%
ATTITUDE = 1 + 20 + 20 + 9 + 20 + 21 + 4 + 5 = 100%

By working this out it is easy to see how important it is to have a positive attitude towards solving problems and tackling work in general.

This brought to mind a workshop I once attended on ‘The Q Factor’. Looking it up on the Internet years later led me to electrical engineering sites that bear no relation to what we sat through at the time, being told then that Emotional Intelligence is the ability to tune into one’s environment. It was that kind of workshop. While I do not remember much more about it, what has stuck is the combined influence of one’s mind, mood, mouth and attitude – which is why the examples worked out above sent me on a search through the scribbles in an old notebook:

One’s state of MIND determines one’s MOOD which in turn influences the language and forms of expression one uses (MOUTH). This will in turn reflect one’s ATTITUDE towards others and influence the perceptions others have of one.

It has been expressed in a variety of forums too that the way one feels can influence the way one cooks. Even the same recipe, according to some, cannot guarantee that one’s mood won’t influence the outcome. It is widely accepted, for example, that cooking while in a positive frame of mind can enhance the flavour and presentation of one’s food.
Think of Laura Esquivel’s novel, Like Water for Chocolate, which shows how the strong emotions Tito feels as one time or another unintentionally affects the people who eat the food she prepares.

We all know how people with a negative attitude can adversely affect others in the work place. Why should the same not apply to food?

Does your attitude influence the way you cook?