Food for Thought: Samoosas and Milk Tart

I was a rookie in a place of veterans. The very first veteran I met was sitting next to me on the couch.
She nudged me on the shoulder: “Don’t you have a samoosa?” she asked in Afrikaans. I was confused. I ate cheese sandwiches during the lunch break. I didn’t recall having brought a samosa. I looked at her, puzzled..
“What about a roti?” she asked; “Julle het dit mos in julle…”


Instead of respond, I launched into a series of loud guffaws. “Julle” was the Afrikaans plural for the word ‘jy’, meaning you. Who were these you’s and why did they carry snacks ready for distributing to the broader public in their bodies? I started to picture myself giving birth to samosas, rotis and other cuisine this woman associated with me and us.

Samoosas. The Cape Town pronounciation means extending the middle syllable thus the spelling.

A veteran seated on the couch across from us joined in on my laughter. She had some questions of her own, and posed them to the lady suffering from samoosa cravings: “What about you? When are you bringing us milktart?” She proceeded to name other dishes supposedly associated with the Afrikaans-speaking demographic whose ancestors originated from Holland.
“Ek?” she exclaimed. “Ek is dan self ‘n melktert!” I am a milktart myself.


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