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“The Principal Delights of Men”

“The Principal Delights of Men”

Don’t shoot me! I do realize that the “Principal” here should be spelled “Principle” but this is a quotation directly from “The Royal Hostess-South Africa’s Own Cookbook”. The introduction begins with the following paragraph.

The enjoyment of find food has been one of the principal delights of men since the beginning of time, and for the woman that would aspire to the power that good cooking offers, there are a few golden rules that cannot be ignored.

The Royal Hostess-South Africa’s Own Cookbook
The Royal Hostess

I spent an afternoon one day a few years ago meandering through Gordan’s Bay’s Bikini Beach Books (the one with the Mercedes on its roof) and stumbled upon a piece of history in a fourth edition (1958) of this magnificent cook book. Written in the language and sentiment of its time it is peppered with less than kosher terminology. I can still appreciate the rich culinary history written into the pages of The Royal Hostess, a comprehensive collection of distinctly South African dishes and if you can find your funny bone, you’ll find hilarity in this dedication:

And so this book is dedicated to all the young newly-weds in South Africa, many of whom will be coming to grips with a stove for the first time!

The Royal Hostess-South Africa’s Own Cookbook

Allow me to treat you to a quintessential South African recipe from these hallowed pages, transcribed directly from the book.

Poffertjies (Dutch Fritters)

Shout out to the Rijsdijk part of our family 🙂


  • 1 and a half cups milk, or water
  • half cup butter
  • quarter teaspoon salt
  • 1 and a half cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • half a pound of lard


Bring the milk (or water) to the boil and add a half cup of butter. Cook until the butter is melted. Add salt. Add the flour – all at once- and stir over heat until it ceases to adhere to the sides of the pan. Turn the dough into a basin and stand to cool.

Separate the eggs, beat the yolks well, and add them to the mixture. Put the lard into a deep saucepan and bring to the boil. Beat the whites of the eggs stiffly, and fold them into the dough mixture. See that the are thoroughly incorporated.

Take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and drop into the hot lard, cooking a few at a time until nicely browned. Hold the fritters down in the fat with an egg slice, as they rise to the top. When cooked, drain on crumpled greaseproof paper, sift icing sugar over the top, and serve hot.

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