If i can cook
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IF I CAN COOK / YOU KNOW GOD CAN: NTOZAKE SHANGE

I have always loved meal times in our home, my mum would start dinner preparations early, singing as she went along. The scent of onions to your nose and the eyes, then the celery, garlic, sweet pepper seduce you into trying to guess what would be prepared that day. All this explained in If I can cook you know God can.

As the day proceeded, I would join my mum in the kitchen to help and that’s when the stories would start. Tales about her growing up, tales about the war she saw the tail end of, and the war her mother lived through, funny stories, sad stories, my pronunciations would be corrected, my manners judged and taught.

All this during meal preparations and onto the dinner table when her delicious meals were laid out and enjoyed. Years later, the tables turned and I now make most of the meals with her closely supervising me as she seats and regales me with fewer stories that she remembers and listens to mine with wide eyes as I did when I was little.

To me, meal times will always be more than food, meal times will be that time when you share your past, present and future with your dinner partner.

In If i can cook you know God can , Ntozake Shange wraps up her recipes with history, insight and nostalgia.

The dishes mentioned here are more than just items thrown in a pot and left to simmer. They are the threads that hold us all together, in this pages we read our similarities in each ingredient lovingly prepared, passed on from cook to cook, each tweaking it a little as it crosses borders and across seas.

Her words open our eyes to a history we may have lived, we may have heard, we may have watched. This is a book that stays with you long after the last plate has been cleared. If I can cook / you know God can, yes you definitely know this. {*****}

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IF I CAN COOK / YOU KNOW GOD CAN NTOZAKE SHANGE
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Edward

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