Smart cookie: how making cookies was a great coming-of-age moment

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Smart cookie: how making cookies was a great coming-of-age moment

Receiving a cookie press was a great coming-of-age moment for Mogau Seshoene. To honour this she pays tribute to her mother, Mamose Seshoene, and the great South African tradition of tea biscuits made using this essential kitchen tool.

I would like to start by admitting that my mom was right … about everything. About that friend not really being a friend, the value of hard work, wearing sunscreen and having savings. I now realise she did try to give me life’s cheat sheet. I hope my daughter listens when that time comes. Probably not!

One of the most important things my mom has always been right about is the calm that a cup of hot tea can bring. It’s amazing how it continues to comfort me whenever I feel lost as an adult. It’s also one of the reasons we love baking so much – such a perfect pairing. Sharing a pot of tea has always been one of my favourite ways to bond with my mother – rooibos with powdered milk and a teaspoon of sugar. She and I have had many a special moment during these rituals.

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As a young girl, one of the first things I learnt to make was the best tea, and I had a lot of practice. The best part of making a cup has always been the smile that it brought to my mom’s face, a beloved family tradition that she shared with her own mother. My mom even has a special cabinet for all the “good” tea sets. Her best cups and crockery, only to be used on “special” occasions.

Another special item is kept in the same cabinet – her cookie press. The same type I received as a gift when I left home. This is the cookie press we would use to make her beloved tea biscuits, which have been a staple in my house for all my life. My mother always makes extra to pack in a container to give to any visitor who comes to our home. In fact, these biscuits are a feature in almost all the black homes I’ve visited, and at most celebrations.

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Mama’s tea biscuits

Find the recipe for Mama’s tea biscuits here. 

I’m not sure when or how they became a tradition, but that’s what they are. Just seeing them immediately inspires nostalgia and makes me want to call home. I guess that’s part of the genius of our mothers. All those special memories linked to sight, taste and smell, tucked away in our memory banks ready to be invoked at any moment and make us yearn for her warm embrace. There’s no one else who holds a place in our lives and hearts quite like our mothers and mother figures do.

Whether she’s your biggest cheerleader or your toughest critic, your relationship with your mom cannot be compared to any other. Here’s a simple but delicious tea-time recipe to make in celebration of Mother’s Day. And if she isn’t close by and you’re still lucky enough to be able to, make sure to call her and tell her how much you love her.

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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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