It’s a recipe-book classic many South Africans of a certain vintage have on their shelves, dog-eared and spattered with sauce. Kook&Geniet by S.J.A. de Villiers was first published in 1951 and has since sold over a million copies. But did you know that the home cook’s go-to guide has produced offspring? Klein Kook&Geniet was put together by the original author and her daughter, Eunice van der Berg.
Originally published in the early 1980s, the introduction to cooking for small chefs has now been re-issued, with fresh colour pictures to accompany the same trusted recipes for the likes of baked goodies, home-made pizza and chicken à la king. It has been specifically designed for beginners, teaching them how to measure ingredients, follow step-by-step instructions and master food terminology. The new edition has been adjusted to include new kitchen technologies (well, new since the 80s), like the stick mixer.
“Interestingly, the food processor was very new on the market when my mother and I wrote the first Klein Kook&Geniet,” says Eunice. “Even though these techniques can help you adjust the methods to be easier and quicker, the basic methods described in Klein Kook&Geniet remain the same and mastering them enables you to apply them to any recipe from any source.”
Eunice says she’s delighted that the book is still in demand after 36 years, even though she didn’t start out with high expectations. “I took on the project in 1981 together with my mother, not even realising that she would name me as co-author.” S.J.A. de Villiers clearly passed down her pleasure of spending time in the kitchen, as well as her methodical nature – which is essential in a recipe developer.
Klein Kook&Geniet is available in Afrikaans only at good bookstores for R265, so scrub up on your lingo and go pick up a copy for the little cook in your life.
Psst… want to take a trip down memory lane? Search the #KookenGeniet hashtag on Instagram. These are just a few of our favourites (the crustier, the better!).
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