Looney tunes in the kitchen

By Kirstin Buick
29 July 2013

Our food blogger shares how a little music influences like in the YOU, Huisgenoot and DRUM test kitchen

Now that the YOU food team has been introduced in the previous blog, it is time to talk about the other half of the crazy combo. We often share the kitchen with the DRUM food team.

Hope Malau is the only man in the kitchen (he’s not complaining!). He is our webmaster and known for his phrase “Yo, this is Hope!” – followed by a flash of those pearly whites, of course. Being almost always outnumbered by women, Hope sometimes suffers from estrogen suffocation, and his remedy, “dance like no-one’s watching!’ And I promise you, he really dances like no-one is watching).

Then, of course, there is DRUM’s youthful food editor, Lungile Nhlanhla, or Lungi to us. Some of you will rememberher from season one of Masterchef South Africa where she finished fifth, but to us, she is Lungi, the bootylicious keeper of the kitchen chaos. Give that girl a knife and an open pantry, and she can take the mystery out of any box.

With all of our multicultural personalities, there are some things that we do, however, bump heads about. The kryptonite to our super-team has two syllables, mu-sic. Yes, people, MUSIC. The one thing we can’t live without in the kitchen.

Kitchen manager, Carmen Hendricks holds the key to our kryptonite, because she ALWAYS wins, with Lungi and Hope a close second. I normally lose the battle, being the only one who prefers “loud and depressing” music (as my fellow kitchen pals describe it). When I so much as suggest playing some of my music, it’s met with a unified sigh. So poor old me, I just have to get back to my chopping.

Chopping onions to a reggae versus a pop number has a bigger effect on the chopping than you might think. When Hope’s UB40 flows through the speakers, it feels like I AM the onion. Even my eyes tend to glass over occasionally. When it’s T.I’s latest rap number then I’m a chopping machine, giving evenEdward Scissorhands a run for his money.

Carmen Niehaus isn’t at all affected by our disputes over music. She calmly goes on with her typing, safely behind studio doors and working furiously on the next Top100 brand extension. Ignoring the “children” who roam free in the kitchen, she rather focuses on coming up with recipes that will please anyone from the housewife to the workaholic whenever that ever-so-challenging question, “What’s for dinner?” comes up.

Even though Carmen N is normally consumed within her recipes, when so much as a bubble of laughter echoes down the hallways (coming from the kitchen, of course), she will be the first to pop her head through the kitchen door, quickly followed by her famous phrase of “Vertel, vertel!” (tell me too). There will be an eyebrow raise or two, and then another outburst of laughter!

Our taste in music might not be the same, but after a year of sharing a kitchen, YOU and DRUM have learnt to gel. We might all be singing our own tunes, be it Hope’s Kwaito, Lungi’s House Music, Carmen Hendricks’ R&B or my Alternative Rock, but together, we are just a bunch of crazies contributing to the same tune.

-          Esther Malan

Esther is the food assistant in YOU’s test kitchen.


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