Bred in the bone: the broth that takes me back to my childhood

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Bred in the bone: the broth that takes me back to my childhood

The smell of simmering bone broth always takes Mogau Seshoene back to winter school holidays spent with her grandparents and cousins in rural Limpopo

Every winter school holiday of my childhood, my sister and I would be shipped off to my maternal grandparents’ farm in the little village of Ga Mphahlele, Limpopo. My mother would pack play clothes, church clothes, extra blankets and jerseys, toys, a few dry goods and groceries and we’d load up the car. I never wondered whether our parents missed us since we were gone for so long, but as an adult I can understand the need for such a break!

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We would be met by our excited cousins, all six of them. Our Koko was always so happy to see her eight grandchildren and would bring us inside for a warm embrace. She was the softest, most loving person. Everyone says this about their grandma but, seriously, she was. My grandfather, Tate, was quite stern, an “I’m only telling you once” kind of person. Together, they ran a tight ship with a strict schedule, so our days were both loving and predictable, and everything had its place. I suppose they had all the practice needed after raising six children of their own!

Get the recipe for bone broth here.

From the day we arrived, we were assigned our chores for the duration of the stay. My family believes in hierarchy more than anything, so jobs around the house and farm were assigned by age. The oldest polished and shined the stoeps, while the others made brunch, or fed the chickens or pigs and fetched the eggs. And, of course, we made endless pots of teas for visitors who would interrupt our play to see how big we had grown since they had last seen us. There were far too many of us for things to be boring.

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Every holiday, Koko would roast meaty bones to make a big batch of bone broth that would warm us from the inside. When each of us arrived, this would be the first thing we would drink after unpacking. I don’t remember any of us ever getting sick all winter. At the end of our stay, she would make another big batch of her broth to send home with each of us, along with a huge bag of tomatoes from my generous grandparents’ garden, a quarter of the goat that had been slaughtered during our visit, and a hand- knitted jersey. My mom would then freeze the broth in batches to use in all her soups and stews for the remainder of the cold season. Every time I make this broth, I think of happy winter mornings spent in my Koko’s kitchen.

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Mogau Seshoene Article by: Mogau Seshoene

Mogau Seshoene, AKA The Lazy Makoti is a cookbook author and TV star.

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