Fundraising Walk for South Africa Came With New Found Love for Hot Tea & Bobotie

Fundraising Walk for South Africa Came With New Found Love for Hot Tea & Bobotie

This blog is posted with World Water Day in mind, March 22, 2017

I love to get involved in philanthropy because I find that the more generous I am, the more I learn about the world – and the more fun I have! Case in point, I sponsored a friend on her fundraising walk for South African women, through On the tails of this global effort comes Word Water Day, created over 20 years ago by the United Nations. Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. While my friend raised just shy of her goal, she was still proud, acknowledging:


At first, a small amount seems inconsequential, but then again…any amount of money or awareness raised means something. Every full bucket is filled with many drops!


The CARE Walk benefited women and girls who lack easy access to fresh water. Every day they lose time from work and school, setting off on foot to find and carry home around five gallons per day. The walk, my friend told me, averages about 10,000 daily steps for these women – that’s about five miles! The fundraising campaign was called #WalkInHerShoes. For a week, my friend walked in solidarity with the people of South Africa, toting back gallons of water. Along the way, she learned several things; among them: doing this gives one more toning and weight building results than you can get at the gym; that she and her fellow Westerners are incredibly lucky, and last but not least, African cuisine is darn good!


Just to mix things up, and carry a suitable amount of weight back on one of her journeys, my friend walked to a South African grocery and café in Ft. Lauderdale, called A Meal in A Pie, and had them pack an order of traditional Bobotie – to go!

Bobotie, pictured above, is a classic in South Africa – it’s both savory and sweet, and so delicious that my friend tells me her pie did not make it home intact. If I have any South Florida friends reading this post, you can easily check out this grocery store, near Oakland Park and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Again, it’s called Meal-in-A-Pie, and is tucked away in a beachy neighborhood. There is no website, but I’m told the food speaks loudly enough for itself.

You can also get DELICIOUS herbal rooibos tea there – it’s so sweet, the honey aroma of it lingers long after the kettle is drained.

So much of South African cuisine is blended with Great Britain’s. In Bobotie, imagine, a shepherd’s pie with the sweet tang of chutney, and the yummy crunch of almonds. In this recipe for Bobotie, I found that you can swap the apricot jam with my own recipe for apple chutney.

Tea time is just marvelous with apple chutney slathered on club crackers. You read it here first! But if you don’t want to do any of the work to taste South Africa, there’s always BOMA restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort. Further south, there’s a four star South African restaurant, called The Big Easy that just opened in the Brickell City Centre of Miami. I’ll keep an eye out for Anthony Bourdain! Cheers, and here’s my recipe for chutney.

Jorj’s Apple Chutney

12 small apples, peeled, cored and diced, about 8 cups

2 small white onions, peeled and diced, about 2 cups

1 (4-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and grated, about 4 tablespoons

2 cups orange juice

1 ½ cups cider vinegar

2 cups brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground mustard

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 ½ cups raisins.

Place apples, onions and ginger into a large pot. Add the OJ, cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, red pepper and kosher salt.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Stir in 1 ½ cups raisins.

Store in an airtight mason jar and keep in the refrigerator once opened. The chutney should last as long as the jellies and jams you may have in there.

The Nana Network Gives Back: We Loved Helping Vance High’s New Golf Team!

The Nana Network Gives Back: We Loved Helping Vance High’s New Golf Team!

Most of us contribute to charities, school fundraisers, community projects and our churches on a regular basis. “Giving back” is part of our culture; but, every once in a while, an opportunity for “hands on help” presents itself.

Me, Jorj (second from the right) with Coach Smith and trio of new Vance High School Golfers!

Last week, while infusing my early morning coffee, I watched a story on Vance High School’s coach trying to start up a girls’ golf team—the first all-girl golf team this Charlotte, North Carolina school has ever known! The girls (five of them) were present and willing, but the budget was sorely lacking. The coach made an appeal for used golf equipment, “clubs, bags, balls tees, shoes… anything.”

Ding, ding, ding! If there is one thing a mountain top golf community has it is extra clubs – but how to get the word out? It takes a village they say. Well, I say it takes a Network, a “Nana Network” to be exact. I knew I could find dozens of fellow grandparents on my Ladies Golf Association email list that would be happy to help these young ladies. The LGA list is normally used to communicate upcoming tournaments and results, but within a few minutes, the call went out for donations, and—just as I knew it would—help came pouring in!

Within 24 hours I had a garage full of equipment for the girls. Within 48 hours we had met their needs and more. Within 72 hours the cash started rolling in, and by day four I was packing up my car and driving to meet the coach.

Bound for Vance High School!

Bound for Vance High School!

It is heartwarming to know how much everyone wanted to help. It is about golf, a sport that teaches patience and etiquette, as well as team camaraderie.  But, it is also about helping a girl have a chance to learn a sport that may open a door for her later on in life.  One of the team members that I met told me that she had never swung a golf club, but she has watched a lot of golf on TV.

Now she has a chance to experience in life what she could only watch others perform.

If you are moved like I was to pay it forward and help get this cool new golf team off the ground, it is not too late!! The high school is selling T-shirts now through September 1, 2014. For $20 you can get a T that says “Vance Golf” on the front and features a list of generous sponsors (like you!) on the back. Make your check payable to “Vance Athletic Booster Club (Golf)” and address the envelope as follows:

c/o Jerry Smith / Golf Coach
Vance High School
7600 IBM Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

As for me and my loyal band of gal pals, who like golfing almost as much as we like gnoshing, we will continue to follow the Vance High School Girls’ Golf Team and maybe, just maybe by the end of the season, they can visit our Nana Network, and give us a golf tip or two!

Knead to Feed

Knead to Feed

Many of us love to cook for children, for friends, and if you are like me just for fun! Our kids grow into adults with fast and furious schedules that lead to fast and furious meals. Dinner parties for friends evolve into, “let’s get together for cocktails and then go out to a restaurant.” Even cooking for hubby has its drawbacks – it’s hard to splurge on a rich red wine sauce and add in a decadent dessert on a Tuesday night!

Still, the need to feed exists and the hunger must be satisfied.

The statistics are staggering: millions of children go to bed hungry. Millions of seniors do not get enough nutrition in their meals. Many more millions of parents cannot feed their families. Yet there are cooks like you and me that have the means, the skills, and the passion to fill this need. All we have to do is bring together the cooks and the hungry to achieve lots of smiling faces and full tummies.

Let’s start with the basics, cookie baking. Home-baked cookies fill empty tummies with wholesome ingredients. It only takes a minute to think of someone who would love to eat a cookie or two with a glass of chilled milk or a cup of hot tea. The best part about baking and sharing cookies is that you can do it in minutes and it provides an abundance of smiling memories. Share with a friend whose family is coming for the weekend, or as a take-home thank you for a repairman that’s been in your home. How about dropping a batch to a busy mom, or a friend that’s by themselves? Cookies are perfect for everywhere you go and everyone you see.

I’ll start with an easy recipe for Ginger Cookies that I adapted from Chef Mary at Frederica Resort in Sea Island, GA. These cookies are wonderful to stack and pack, and nothing says comfort like a home-baked cookie.

Ginger Cookies

Yields 3 dozen cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 ½ sticks
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • Granulated sugar

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip the butter until creamy. Mix in the brown sugar, molasses, and egg. Add the flour in three additions until just combined. The batter will be sticky.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into 1 ½-inch balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar and place onto a parchment-lined baking dish. Bake until the tops of the cookies are golden and firm to the touch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.