Remember what I said last week about good things happening in threes? Well, I hate to break it to my former nanny, but she’s wrong.
Sometimes, good things happen in FOURS!
Late last night, I had an e-mail from my lovely friend Courtney of Coco Cooks (who, incidentally, will be appearing on CBS2 Weekend Morning News this Sunday 22 February at 10 a.m to cook and talk about a recipe in honour of Black History Month! Woo hoo – I have a famous friend!). Once again, she was quicker on the ball than me and she advised me to check out the Times Online’s list of Top 50 Food Blogs in the World. Dutifully, I clicked the link and was thrilled to see some of my friends and favourite sites there – David Lebovitz, Becks & Posh, Lucullian Delights, What’s For Lunch, Honey?, the lovely Nordljus and fellow-Londoner A Slice of Cherry Pie. But wait… what’s this lurking in the mid 40’s??? It’s ME! Yup, CookSister snuck in at 46 (out of the approximately 33,000 food blogs in existence!).
So if you arrived here today as a result of the Times’ Top 50 Food Blogs article (or their Top 10 Food Blogs for the Home Cook article last week), welcome and I hope you enjoy your visit! Have a browse through my recipe index, sneak a peek at my photographs, and remember to have a look at my South African Food and Wine Blog Directory (a showcase of culinary talent from the southern tip of Africa). If you like what you see, feel free to subscribe to CookSister via e-mail or RSS feed!
And while you are here, I am going to ask shamelessly for your help.
US READERS – YOUR BABY CLOTHES NEEDED!
A friend and fellow-South African Mel blogs at Doula Mel and when she’s not surfing, she runs a Cape Town charity called Bosom Buddies. Now the majority of South African women cannot afford private maternity care and will give birth in a state hospital where the care they receive can vary from the good, to the okay, to the truly awful. Many women, sometimes only teenagers, are dropped off at hospital by family and left alone and scared to give birth surrounded by complete strangers. The process often entails spending hours sitting waiting in a corridor until a bed is available, and the overworked nurses seldom have time for reassurance and soothing words. Clean linen is at a premium and supplies for the new mum to take home with her are nonexistent. Add to that South Africa’s shocking stillbirth figures (and our Minister of Health’s even more shocking attempt to conceal them), and you have a situation that would horrify most people – if they took the time out of their safe middle-class lives to pay attention.
But Mel is one person who did step out of her comfortable existence and founded Bosom Buddies. The charity collects new and good-quality used clothes and supplies for newborns, as well as having a band of volunteers who knit bootees, sew pretty cloth bags, bake and make cards. Mel and other women from her church go to the poorest of the state hospitals around Cape Town and spend time with new mums, giving them each a bag containing supplies for them and their baby to take home. Even more amazingly, they take time to sit with women who have suffered a stillbirth, pray with them, and have special bags for them containing toiletries and a little gift for the bereaved mum. They distribute about 200 of these bags every month.
But, as always, funding is a problem, particularly given the global economic downturn, and right now Mel is asking any of my US readers if they can help. Mel isn’t looking for cash, but baby clothes and supplies. And the good news is that she has a few few friends coming over from Augusta, GA at the beginning of March who can bring supplies with them in her luggage, free of charge! All you have to do is mail the goodies to them in Augusta ASAP! According to Mel, she needs:
* 0-3 month (mostly) and 3-6 month sizes of onesies, sleepers and vests
* wool to use for knitted baby cardigans and beanies
* waterproofs/plastic pants/sanitary pads for mum
* blankies are also a need, but don’t buy new, only if you have 2nd hand
* spend those pennies on clothes if you are keen to shop, but gently used is just as good.
The ladies are travelling in early March, so the clothes need to be sent as soon as possible, to:
If you have no baby clothes to donate, how about a recipe? I am part of a wonderful group of food bloggers called BloggerAid who have decided to stop shaking their heads in dismay at the state of the world and instead, start working on improving things. BloggerAid’s principal aim is to raise awareness of world hunger and to raise funds for the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), an international organisation working to alleviate hunger around the globe. More specifically, we have chosen to support the WFP’s School Meals programme which aims to supply a hot nutritious meal to schoolchildren in the world’s poorest countries, as an incentive to parents to keep children in school and thereby break the cycle of poverty.
In BloggerAid’s most ambitious fundraising project to date, we are going to publish a cookbook and every cent raised is going to go to the WFP. Which is where YOU come in! We don’t want your money – just your recipe! All you need to do is to send us one original recipe (e.g. your special banana bread, or your Aunty Mary’s secret pasta sauce – any recipe that’s not from a recipe book or a website), in MS Word format, either with or without a picture – and we will do the rest. Full details on how to submit a recipe are available here. But please don’t blog the recipe – we want the book to be full of never-seen-before exclusives and surprises to encourage people to buy it. Submissions are open until the end of March, so what are you waiting for? Get submitting! Not only is it for an excellent cause – just think how good it will feel to see your name and recipe in a glossy cookbook!
AND PLEASE DON’T FORGET THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE
Those of you who regularly read the sidebars of this blog will know that the ongoing economic and humanitarian disaster in South Africa’s neighbour Zimbabwe is an issue close to my heart. I am cautiously optimistic about the news last week that Morgan Tsvangirai has now been sworn in as Prime Minister in a power-sharing deal with long-term dictator Robert Mugabe, but the fact is that years of catastrophic governance and abuse of the citizens by their own government have left the country with a completely worthless currency, no viable economy or agriculture, 90% unemployment, failing utilities, closed schools and hospitals, 5 million people needing food aid, and a cholera epidemic. So even if the new political deal does bring a slow return to normality, life continues to be intolerable for many of the most vulnerable people.
A number of international organisations are doing magnificent work in Zimbabwe, but all of them are suffering from a slump in donations owing to the worldwide economic downturn. Many of them have spoken about needing to cut back their activities in Zimbabwe at a time when they are most sorely needed. Below are a list of charitable organisations who have all made specific Zimbabwe fundraising appeals lately. If you are lucky enough to have a house with running water and lights, enough food on the table for your family, a job, and access to schools and hospitals for your family, please remember that you are in a far better position than almost everybody in Zimbabwe, and that any amount you give can help to make a difference.
- Medecins Sans Frontieres Zimbabwe cholera appeal – MSF currently have 500 staff in Zimbabwe and have treated 45,000 victims of the ongoing cholera outbreak
- Oxfam Zimbabwe appeal
- The Red Cross Zimbabwe appeal
- Save The Children Zimbabwe crisis appeal
- Tearfund Zimbabwe crisis appeal
Thank you! Normal foodie transmission will resume tomorrow