Full time worker, homemaker and wife living in Cape Town, sharing honest and simple reviews of her weekend foodie indulgences.
Name: Amilinda Wilkinson
Age: As old as I feel, which puts me somewhere in the region of a tween-going-on-young-adolescent, but with an old soul.
Dislikes: Disceit, animal abuse, idiot drivers, mushrooms, short weekends, summer, drama of any kind
Likes: Long holidays, folksy music, pets (especially dogs and rats), pizza, unnecessary shopping sprees, pretty hair and make-up days, grow-your-own-veggies and very much my husband
Occupation: Professional foodie. Amateur photographer. Experienced traveler and hopefully soon a recognised food blogger. But the job that pays the bills? Administrative stuff.
Three course meal…
My journey with food started at a very young age, as it often does. It’s a passion that takes hold of you when you are still too small to sit at the dinner table properly without being propped up on several cushions. It’s in your blood long before you understand that an eggplant, a brinjal and an aubergine are all the same. It’s a way of life, and once that taste for good food starts to develop, it becomes a life-long love affair that’s second to none.
My mom got terribly ill when I was about twelve. My frantic mind immediately reached out to nutrition as the solution to this problem. Even with my child-like logic, I instinctively knew that healthy food meant a healthy body. I studied piles of recipe books I loaned from the public library, and paged through stacks of women’s magazines for inspiration.
So, with a wobbly pan, a simple pasta pot, a two-plate stove and a wooden spoon, I submerged myself in the world of food. I would come home from school and carefully select the scant ingredients our mini-fridge had to offer. The kitchen would be a mess, and I would end up dirtying every pot and pan we had, but seeing my mom eat that humble plate of food was the most rewarding experience I could ever wish for.
As I became more comfortable in my new role in the kitchen, I realised that presentation is as important as the meal itself. Curly parsley became my new best friend. As my skills developed, I expanded my repertoire with julienne carrots, tomato flowers, dainty droplets of sauce, grounds of black pepper, and a handful of chopped herbs as a quick and nutritious garnish. These were the days before social media, Jamie Oliver cookbooks, Nigella TV-shows or MasterChef. Recipe’s weren’t visual; they were static pictures in yellowing cookbooks that often looked very uninspiring.
My mom and I walked this road to health together over the next year or so. I didn’t want to stop; I wanted to learn more, cook more, taste more. Unbeknownst to my self-conscious twelve-year-old self, my love of food would become a defining character of the adult me, and would fill my life with so many new adventures, flavours and indulgences. It would lead me here, to The Little Hedonist.
Twenty years later
So, fast-forward about twenty years, and the adult version of me is a loving wife to my darling husband, Karl, who (very coincidentally!) is a total foodie! He will eat whatever I put in front of him (with the only exception of mushrooms).
So all in all, we are living the young-adult, responsible life, in a coastal suburb of Cape Town, with our house and garden and dogs and day jobs. But oh, we are hedonists at heart, and weekends are our guilt-free spells of sheer indulgence. Wine, chocolate, lunch, breakfast, coffee, cocktails, pastries, breads, platters, cheese…you name it! We work hard, but we indulge even harder! We both enjoy beautiful food, prepared simply, in gorgeous outdoor settings. And believe it or not, we are very budget conscious! I guess we are extremely lucky that we can enjoy such a wide variety of cuisine in such lovely surroundings in South Africa at very reasonable prices.
We seek out the food markets, the little café’s and bistros, the unfamiliar little pizza places. We sniff out the best wine-food pairings, and the most exquisite desserts. Coupled with my love for writing and our shared passion for photography, and The Little Hedonist seemed, after so many years, the obvious thing to do. But let’s get this straight: I’m no food critic or connoisseur…on the contrary, I’m a wife and home-maker; just a small-town girl with a big appetite. I don’t make a living from food; I live for food.
Starting a food blog
I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d finally take the plunge and commit to writing a food blog. Like I’m seriously committed to this. I guess, in a way, I’m still that self-conscious twelve-year-old kid, wondering what the hell I’m doing, and wondering what people will think of it. But for me, it’s a place to express my (somewhat!) creative tendencies and a space in which to keep my daydreams alive (other than in my humble kitchen). Suburban life (and the bucketful of responsibilities that come with it!) can be a dream-killer and time-gobbler, so I decided this is something I need to do for myself. And for others. I mean, there is really no joy bigger than the joy of food, and doubly so if you can share it! So here’s to finding me-time.
What to expect
What can you expect in the coming weeks and months and hopefully years, you ask? I’m eager to share our weekend pursuits for foodie indulgences with you on The Little Hedonist, and maybe, just maybe, my recommendations lead you to your own piece of culinary heaven if and when you ever visit Cape Town. If Cape Town is not on your itinerary, I hope you can leave feeling inspired and happy. Great food should be accessible. Ingredients should be fresh and unpretentious. This is what I’m aiming for with The Little Hedonist: an unassuming, handy guide to great food in the Mother City. I want to tell it like it is: truthfully, without frills and fakery. I want to write about simple food in simple terms. I’m a simple girl. Let’s face it – all you really need to know is whether the food is good or bad, whether it’s cheap or expensive, whether the flavour combination works or not and whether the venue is dull or cheerful. All you really need to know is whether you can serve this bottle of white wine to your friends on a hot summer’s day, and it will be to everyone’s taste. Because, let’s be honest, who can really taste the hints of freshly cut grass or cinnamon undertones in a glass of Chenin Blanc? For hedonist’s sake!