Roast chicken cooking at my grandparents’ house on a Sunday. The pope’s nose, greasy and terrible and wonderful. Roast potatoes and carrots and peas that wouldn’t stay in the spoon and then ice cream with jelly that looked like fire on a snow-covered mountain.
The strip of fat on the edge of a chop and the way it melted in my mouth.
KOO peaches and Ultramel custard. Not the peach halves, the slices, which lay in their baths of syrup like bright half moons.
Guivas, which were even better because you could eat the pips out of the centre first and then the rest. Jan van Riebeeck brough guavas to the Cape from Madiera, but I didn’t know that then.
Jelly tots and Smarties like the box I stole from Checkers when I was three.
Nik Naks and Flings and Ghost Pops.
Fruit cubes that cost 5 cents from the tuckshop.
Chappies and Chomps and the ad with the hippo.
Frisco and Ricoffy, but we never drank coffee in our house, only tea.
Jungle oats, which I hated as much as liver, maybe more.
Weetbix because we weren’t allowed Rice Krispies.
Viennas on white bread rolls and toasted cheese and tomato sarmies because that’s all my father could make. We were never allowed white bread, only brown. No Melrose either, or chocolate or Coke.
Black Cat peanut butter with apricot jam, and syrup if you were really lucky. That was my school lunch for years and years, safe and warm and unloved in a lunchbox that closed and opened with a satisfying plastic whump.
Liqui-fruit, because juice was good for you.
Lollipops, their wrappers undone and fluttering around the stick like a cape.
The cut in my mouth from a Sparkle. Fizzers that needed to be warm before you could chew them.
Liquorice allsorts. Stealing sweets from the cupboard in Ouma’s special hiding place.
Marie biscuits, which were boring, and Lemon Creams, which were better. Romany Creams and Iced Zoo were the best.
The taste of cupcake batter on the edge of my finger and the sharp sugary smell of icing made with water not Stork SB.
Pieces of apple with the skin peeled off, given to me by my grandmother. Naartjies and the sticky juicy wonder of litchis in summer. Paw-paw and oranges and bananas. Never peaches, because I hated peach fuzz, always have and always will.
Crème Soda, wondrous limpid green.
Lunchbars and Crunchies and Bar-Ones. A finger of Kit Kat snapped off by my grandmother.
Big T burgers that came out of the freezer.
Spaghetti in tomato sauce out of a can.
Milo and rooibos tea with milk and sugar, before I stopped drinking it with either.
Mince meat with rice and fish fingers and both of them with All Gold tomato sauce.
Marmite or Bovril on toast dipped in a boiled egg.
Baked beans eaten cold with a spoon.
This is home.