Ode to Africa
Dec15

Ode to Africa

I was deeply touched by our trip back to South Africa to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday—turned family reunion—and felt compelled to share it on OrnaBakes, which is an extension of who I am. America is now undoubtedly my home, but I’ll always have Africa inside of me. It was wonderful to finally show my husband, Sam, where I grew up, giving him a deeper understanding of who I am and the culture that shaped and molded me. (I’m definitely not your typical “valley girl”!) Unfortunately, even entire stores devoted to biltong (dried and cured meat) didn’t turn Sam into a fan. (It’s hard to explain why it’s so much better than jerky… it just is!) Biltong is such a part of South African culture that you’ll even find it on pizza. (Yummm)   I couldn’t have imagined the sheer joy of reconnecting with my first cousins from Australia and Israel—some of whom I hadn’t seen since I left South Africa TWENTY years ago. Left to Right: Sam Purkin, Orna Purkin, Neil Silver, Maurice Leibowitz, Glen Silver, Joshua Shifren, Amit Efrati, Neville Shifren Angela Benjamin, Sharon Saevitzon, Marlon Silver, Leora Benjamin, Sydelle Leibowitz, Aaron Leibowitz, Ronit Efrati, Danielle Ben Meir, Petra Shifren Boetie Shifren, Zach Shifren, Gary Shifren, Demi Leibowitz, Moran Efrati   To my astonishment, my cousin Glen—in his recent interest in cooking—had happened upon my blog by chance! He attempted making his mother’s “Bulkas” from her handwritten recipe, but they didn’t turn out quite the way he remembered her making them every Yom Kippur. He researched it online, and was amazed that the website he found—describing the familiar taste, smell, and distinct shape of those traditional Cinnamon Buns—belonged to me (his first cousin), and mentioned his own mother, my dear Auntie Phyllie! (I had attempted to get her recipe, but her daughter, Sydelle, couldn’t find it. I would never have guessed that Glen was the one to ask!)   Orna with cousin Glen Silver Glen has since become known in Sydney for his superb Cinnamon Buns! All this time, I had no idea that my cousins in Australia had been following my blog and been moved by my story. Click here for my Traditional South African Bulkas Recipe    The highlight of the my dad’s 80th was surprising him with, Ag Please Boetie—our version of the famous South African Jeremy Taylor song, with customized lyrics by multi-talented Glen. I managed to push through my laryngitis to sing all 12 verses, and everyone chimed in on the chorus. (Let me know if you need a translation for: Kneidlach, Potjiekos, Teiglach, etc.)     Sam was horrified to see a lamb on the spit,...

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