Precious gift of food

Gillian McAinsh

THE seeds for Nina Timm’s food blog started more than a decade ago when she was a Grade 2 teacher at Cape Recife High School in Port Elizabeth. Although the blog itself, www. my-easy-cooking.comdates back to a birthday gift from her husband only five years ago, her love of talking about food was spurred on by breaktime chats with colleagues at the Summerstrand special needs school.

And Cape Town-based Timm headed straight to Cape Recife when she arrived in the Bay for a talk to Club 100 last week, whipping up fish cakes in the school’s domestic science kitchen. She said of the visit: “I was worried about how they would react because there you are, a grownup, and they are children, but the minute you get them cooking all those barriers vanish.”

Two of her former colleagues at Cape Recife – Suzie Dreyer and Erica Maritz – contacted her on Facebook when they learnt of her speaking engagement with Club 100 and she was delighted to oblige.

On Friday, Timm was treated to an undoubtedly more deluxe meal when she addressed the women’s group at Kipling’s Restaurant at the five-star Boardwalk Hotel.

It is not hard to see the radio personality and food stylist as a teacher – she started her career as a speech therapist before moving into the classroom, and although she put down her chalk when she left the city in 2002, today she gives regular cookery classes and demonstrations.

She said a posse of Cape Recife staff met at the “Cow’s Corner” to share their woes at break-time. Invariably the conversation would turn to: “So what did you eat last night?”

Timm had her colleagues’ mouths watering with her dinner delights and she went on to make a career out of food. Her blog now receives up to 3000 hits a day and she hosts a national radio show, Kuberkok (“cyberchef”), on RSG on a Thursday morning.

The old adage of “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” works for Timm, and she believes it to be as true for your children.

“My family have not had the same meal twice since I started – and there are more than 600 recipes on the blog so far!”

One of her current favourites is roast pork belly on a bed of garlicky mash and baby green beans.

It’s rich and warm, comfort deluxe – so not a diet meal – right up the Timm family alley!

“Food is precious and we should savour it because many people do not have it.”

She believes you can eat well on a budget, though, and proves it with many purse-friendly dishes. While rummaging through her kitchen cupboard for ingredients for Kuberkok last year, for example, she saw the Timm family was down to not much more than tinned pilchards.

“How terrible is that? So I gave them my fish cake recipe where all you need is pilchards, oats, eggs, and Bob’s your uncle, fish cakes!”

After the show she received a call from a tearful listener who said: “Nina, I only have a tin of fish and you showed me that with pride I can make eight fish cakes to feed my family”.

Another woman contacted her to say that, despite a terrible stutter, her tasty recipes had given her confidence to entertain. She still stuttered, but it no longer mattered.

Moments like this, rather than the fame and prestige of being an award-winning food personality, give this warm woman so much pleasure, right up there with family and faith.

“Family is very precious and we must make time to spend time with them – and food is the most precious gift you can give your family.”

  • Kuberkok is on RSG tomorrow just after 9am.

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