Rise and Shine…
September 5, 2010 in Uncategorized
I haven’t cooked for sons or lovers this week! My boyfriend is away in Canada(thank goodness for modern technology and Skype!!), and I have been sick with flu for most of the week, so barely cooked for myself, and did not think much about food, which for me is a significant indication that I am indeed sick!!
Yesterday though I was well enough to be up and out, on a glorious Spring day in Johannesburg. After working for three hours in the morning, I came back to browse a farmers market at a lovely local shopping enclave down the road in Melville: and then walked through a home wear shop there: and then I saw it: a one cup Italian coffee percolator, and I bought it immediately.
I have had a love/hate relationship with coffee all my life, until I started grinding and percolating my own, on stove tops, in an Italian Moka. But I have been a bit irritated with always lots of leftover coffee when I have a solitary cup at home alone… so now I have added a one cupper to my two bigger ones, and they stand in a proud little row on my kitchen counter, and I smile every time I walk past them.
Thinking about coffee I remember a time when I must have been about 10 yrs old, maybe even younger…visiting my paternal grandparents in Welkom, that mining town where my granddad was a mine captain… they lived on Jermyn street: years later I would walk the London Jermyn street in affluent St James’ with it’s men’s tailors and tobacco shops… and remember a far humbler Free State mining town where some afternoons angry red dust storms would descend and I would be convinced in my easily scared, imaginative mind, that this was the end of the world….
I used to lie in that single bed with the Rhodesian teak headboard smelling headily of teak polish and something more ancient: maybe camphor and decay, waiting for the subtle sounds of my granddad getting up. Then I would fling the blankets and the sweetly starched sheets off my prepubescent body and rush across the little hallway which separated my grandparents’ bedroom from the other two in a slightly grander and bigger Mine Captain’s house… to slip into their bed on my grandmother’s side… and snuggle close to her voluptuous body, dressed always in a flimsy filmy nylon nightdress or sometimes a slip. I loved the feel of her body close to mine: she drew me close almost reflexively to lie with my nose and cheek pressed against the sly curve of a breast, me inhaling that musky scent of adult bodies after sleep…. The hands on the old fashioned clock on the bedside table would glow luminously.. and then I would hear, far away, muffled by this plentiful body and blankets, the distinctive clanging of an egg beater in a jug, and I knew that my granddad was mixing up powdered milk: Nestle: from a pale yellow tin with two little birds in a nest, for the first cup of coffee for the day. I still don’t know why they preferred to use that rather than fresh milk…
And then shortly after, he would be walking up the passage, intoning: ”Rise and Shine” in lilting repetition, warning my parents of an imminent opening of their bedroom door for their morning coffee to be served to them in bed from the tray with five cups of steaming Ricoffy.
I was the only child who warranted my own cup of coffee: since he knew that he would find me in their bed, almost inseparably stretched against my grandmother, her dark auburn hair and my long little girls hair spread over the same pillow as we lay there talking and her sometimes softly singing to me.
My first grown-up coffee: even if it was a chicory blend out of a tin: and although now I would not even consider having a cup of that, then it was to me the perfect cup of coffee.