Mellow Yellow

My journey as a foodie started more than half a century ago in an old-fashioned farm kitchen in Albertinia district. The kitchen was a headache for my mother, who presided over it in kitchen goddess style. The reason was this: It had been painted the wrong yellow.

It was more Vincent van Gogh than egg yolk or margarine or mellow yellow. It was too intense!

Nowadays I can’t fault its hue. It merged with the creamy hue of the AGA stove and with the sand colour of the wooden floor that was scrubbed once a week.

I had forgotten about the yellow of that kitchen of ours until the other day. I was sitting in Melkies, the happy Melkbosstrand eatery, idly eyeballing the buttercup yellow accent wall, when I suddenly thought: Farm Kitchen! And then the pieces of the culinary puzzle came together for me.

The colour is probably the reason why I feel so at home, so ensconced, here. There will be other reasons too, like the friendliness of the staff, and the cheesy nachos and the sweet ‘n foamy hot chocolate I am partial to, and the fact that there are piles of Sunday newspapers to read.

And then I had another memory, also courtesy of this yellow interior. Way back when I was a student at Stellenbosch University I met Koos Kombuis, who was not called Koos Kombuis in those days, but Andre Letoit. He held court in a small coffee shop, about which he wrote in his book Die Geel Kafee. I hung onto his lips in this little coffee shop, where he hung out with a Belgian friend he simply called “Bruno, Die Belg.” Happy memories, yellow memories.



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