Food writer to give Bay a taste of the past

NIËL STEMMET
NIËL STEMMET

STEMMET1CREATIVE spirit and author Niël Stemmet is on a book tour of the Karoo and will be making a turn in Port Elizabeth next week to launch his new book, back+page.

The supper launches of the book sub-titled: Heritage food word journeys will be held at eateries Brioche in Walmer and Raak in Newton Park, over two evenings of candlelight, tasty morsels and from-the-heart storytelling.

These take place on Wednesday and Thursday, July 30 and 31, from 7 to 9pm, for a R50 donation which will go to Cansa. At Brioche on Wednesday, Ilse Cole will serve freshly baked roosterkoek with spicy chicken livers and cinnabuns.

At Raak, the next evening, Wehrner Lemmer will bake breadlets, stuffed bunny-chow style, with fragrant lamb curry, pumpkin fritters and Anna Hoenderdief Els’s milk tart.

In January, his friend Anneke Blaise wrote a foreword for back+page. A month later she died of cancer, and so bestowed on back+page a whole new dimension – half of the royalties this book generates will be donated to cancer research. Not only that, but when Stemmet visits Port Elizabeth next week, the donation given to Raak and Brioche for the meal also will go to Cansa.

Stemmet says he learnt how to weave a tale at his grandfather’s knee. His passion in life is “food of the past, and telling the stories about food worth remembering”.

Because we all pass on, stories are the only things that endure in this world and that is also why Stemmet loves quilts: “Quilts tell stories. Every one that I possess tells a different story”.

He has published the tales as he wants them to survive us. “Recipes also are part of these stories and purer food, such as we’ve inherited from the tales we’ve been told, is so important. Stemmet calls it “heritage+food” – a concept that he sees as taking root more and more. Stemmet spices up this new collection with letters from inspired readers, and also takes up the cause of those who suffer. This book, therefore, is also about women “who care for the children of others as maids and nannies”.

Simplicity is important to Stemmet, who believes it should become a lifestyle, going back to the days before additives when food was pure and the taste of the original recipe was preserved; leg of mutton, or ash bread?

Let’s cook simple food again, food from the past, he maintains, with family and friends gathered around the meal table.

His popular performances, columns and speeches about this movement include a guest appearance at Port Elizabeth’s Homemakers Fair. He is a regular guest on Port Elizabeth’s Kingfisher FM radio station.

The creative consultant also is a designer of décor, concepts, menus and ideas, with one of his projects, Towerbosch Aardkombuis at the Knorhoek wine estate outside Stellenbosch, winning an award last year as “Best Country Restaurant in South Africa”.

The book is also available in Afrikaans as agter+blad, and published by Lapa Publishers.

Further information from Kingfisher, (041) 368-9740.

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