Post originally written on 3 July.
Today, I had the great honor of learning to make vetkoek!

Vetkoek is a Cape Town treat that I didn’t necessarily go crazy for… until I tried Aunty Lizzie’s recipe. Aunty Lizzie works at WOW Movement cleaning, cooking, and laughing at nearly everything I do. She greets me every morning with “Môre, my skat!” and throughout the day will bring joy to my life through her simple presence. She is the only person in Cape Town who refuses to speak English for me, in the hopes I will learn Afrikaans. Often, this means I only understand every tenth word she says and have to ask a multitude of questions, in English, for her to clarify, in Afrikaans. When I finally understand, she will laugh in delight at the look of comprehension on my face.

I have been asking Aunty Lizzie for a few weeks to teach me to make vetkoeke, and today was the day! I woke up early and went over to Joy’s house, where Lizzie does her cooking for the girls we work with. She greeted me, as always, with “Môre, my skat!” Then, we got to work. Watching Lizzie make vetkoek reminded me of watching my Grandma Ruth make pie crusts when I was a little girl. I’m sure at some point, there was a recipe and measuring cups, but now, they mix ingredients, measuring with their memories. She poured and mixed and grabbed, and finally looked at me and told me it was my turn to knead the dough. I started, cautious of making a mistake, until she laughed and walked away. She would occasionally come over and watch me, showing me tips and tricks, and laughing at the fact that she was teaching an American girl to make vetkoek.

After the dough had a few hours to rise, we fried the little morsels, walked them over to WOW Movement, and fed nearly 30 girls from the neighborhood. After all the kids had food, we got to eat. Vetkoek, soup, and chicken nekkies: a meal that is totally Cape Town, totally delicious, and totally full of warmth and memories.

It was such a special day for me, and I am so glad I get to share it with all of you! For those of you in Arizona, be expecting plenty of vetkoeke upon my return later this month. For now, here are pictures to whet your appetite!

Aunty Lizzie getting the dough ready!

Aunty Lizzie getting the dough ready!

Fryin' up some vetkoeke!

Fryin’ up some vetkoeke!


Vetkoek (“fat cake”) tastes like a mix between Southern biscuits and Indian fry bread. It is especially good with mince curry, pilchards, or cheese.

Showing off our finished batch of vetkoeke!

Showing off our finished batch of vetkoeke!