The Lazy Makoti shares her top kitchen tips

Image: Annalize Nel

Beyond pulling off the perfect wedding, with the right cake, dress and flowers, lies an even greater fear for many an African bride-the period of ukukotiza.  The age-old tradition, where the new bride takes part in a customary stay at the in-laws, includes the tasks of cleaning and cooking for the extended family, a seemingly straightforward task --unless you can’t cook.

Enter Mogau Seshoene, who has made a living for the past few years from helping damsels in distress who haven’t quite mastered the difference between their pots and pans. The Limpopo native is the owner of The Lazy Makoti, a mobile cooking class that helps women fine-tune their cooking skills and improve their ability to produce perfect African cuisine.

Three years ago, Seshoene was an intern auditor but gave it all up to follow her passion.  “At The Lazy Makoti we give cooking lessons, something I've been doing for as long as I can remember," she said.  "It's also something I'm trained in and have a great passion for.”

When Seshoene’s friend, Latticia Tsotetsi, got married a few years ago, she called on her more kitchen-savvy friend’s help. “My husband knew I couldn’t cook and he was okay with that. But you can’t say that to your in-laws,” said Tsotetsi, a traffic officer. Faced with the challenge of cooking for 14 people in rural KwaZulu-Natal, she knew she needed help and so enlisted the services of her childhood friend.

“We did a few successful sessions that ended with her learning to prepare traditional food and then recommending my services to others,” said Seshoene. The casual cooking classes sparked an idea and The Lazy Makoti was born. 

A few years on and the consumer science graduate has added locally manufactured merchandise to her repertoire, selling branded aprons, chopping boards and kitchen accessories. She has also had a taste of the silver screen with a cooking show on a pop-up channel on DSTV. On the show, Seshoene dished up African cuisine with a healthy twist. “The aim is to go healthier and to ‘spice up’ the food.” 

Seshoene does not believe that African cuisine has fallen out of favour. “In the big city, African food is maybe not as big. As Africans we have a habit of adopting other people's cultures and embracing them as our own over ours. But the taste of home can never be forgotten. We all still long for the taste of ting and gemmer."

The Lazy Makoti’s kitchen tips

1. Potatoes

If you over-salt a dish – say, a soup or stew - add a peeled potato. It will absorb all the excess salt. To keep potatoes from sprouting in the bag, store with an apple.

2. Smelly problems

Lemon juice will help neutralise odours from pungent foods, like onions and garlic. After handling items that leave your hands stinky, wash them with a mixture of lemon juice and water.

3. Check if eggs are fresh

To check if an egg is still edible, gently place it in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it’s A-Ok. If it floats, it has seen better days. Over time, the liquid inside eggs evaporates through the porous shell, leaving a gas bubble inside. The floatier it is, the older it is.

4. Random kitchen hacks

  • Prevent a chopping board from slipping or moving by placing a damp cloth underneath it
  • Prevent a pot from boiling over by placing a wooden spoon over the top.
  • Disinfect and sanitise sponges by soaking them in water and microwaving for two minutes.

This article first appeared in print in the Sowetan S Mag April 2016 edition 

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