Tag Archives: Potchefstroom

Self assessment

My brother has a ten year age advantage. That means that apart from being older than me, he has the advantage that he remembers things about my childhood that I may have forgotten about or be completely oblivious to.

Teddy, Age: 50, Height: 16", Lost around 1975
Teddy, Age: 50, Height: 16″, Lost at Plettenberg Bay around 1974/5

Infantile amnesia is the absence of memories for events that occurred in our earliest years or so says research from the Neurobiology Laboratory at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

The theory behind the science, is that our earliest memories get overwritten by new cellular growth – think of it as a hard-disk upgrade!  Childhood amnesia was apparently first formally reported by the psychologist – Caroline Miles in an article “A study of individual psychology”, published in 1893 by the American Journal of Psychology.

It seems that one’s’ memories could be missing all the way up to about ten years of age. It is an interesting phenomenon – I have always taken pride in the fact that I have pretty good memory about concepts and events but awful memory regarding placing names to faces and in fact remembering names altogether. Some of my earliest memories date back to around age 2 – 3 perhaps even 4. Some of my oldest traumatic memories date back to a little more recently – like the loss of my stuffed soft-toy companion “Teddy” in the mid 1970’s when I was around 7 or 8.

Blasts from the past

At any rate, the reason I bring all this up, is my brother and I frequently reminisce about days gone by and places, people and events. Most recently we had a few good laughs about discussing meal-times and what would and wouldn’t get served at meal-times.

I have mentioned before that my paternal grand mother grew up in a fairly well to do middle class family in East Riding and various members of the family did fairly well in various ways . Through she would refer to herself as a Lincolnshire lass, she was born in Hull and her family came from all over the area.

One great aunt (Frances Wells) married Thomas George Tickler – an English businessman and Conservative Party politician from Grimsby in Lincolnshire across the Humber – he would do well in the  fruit growing and preservers business and from a humble grocery business he would expand his business to one of the largest factories in Grimsby, producing jam and marmalade. ‘Ticklers Fruit Growers & Preservers’ being taken over by a rival  in the late 1950s. More on Tickler’s another time.

Yellow Rice

At any rate, one of the traits of my grandmother that I distinctly remember, was the fact that she never thought much of rice as an accompaniment for starch. In fact, she thought of rice as only much good in rice pudding!

My mother would accompany a meal with typically only one starch, either potato or rice, but never both. So if rice was served up and you liked your starch, that was it, tough luck if you were hoping for a nice tattie or some mash.

My maternal grandmother on the other hand had a different strategy. With strong Malay influences in our Afrikaner heritage on my mother’s side a common accompaniment was saffron yellow rice with golden sultana raisins.

Ouma as she was known, would go one step further, she would also roast some potatoes to a crisp along with a freshly culled chicken roasted to protection from her chicken run behind the boarding house at 66 Wolmarans St, Potchefstroom, 2531  North West. I didn’t remember all this, but my brother reminded me. Today you will find it as the home of the Rendezvous Cafe – a revival perhaps of the old days when it was the Dairy Den!

His reminder, rekindles my desire to whip up some saffron yellow rice with white sultanas and make it super fancy with pine nuts – if for no reason other than to re-establish a connection with a comfort food from my youth.

You’ll find details on this dish at AllRecipes.com