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Kook & Geniet

By September 1, 2021September 27th, 2023Newsletter

Kook & Geniet

September 1, 2021


Who and what is Kook en Geniet? The English translation is Cook and Enjoy. Originally an Afrikaans cookbook filled with South African dishes, it was published by S.J.A (Ina de Villiers) in 1951. South African publishers at the time did not think it was worth their efforts. However, these cookbooks have become treasured family heirlooms, their pages dog eared from much thumbing and the covers and bindings held together with carefully applied sellotape. But, the face of Kook en Geniet has evolved and is now a t.v series. The show, broadcast on channels such as Showmax and Kyknet and hosted by Lise Swart, has gained world-renowned popularity for its sumptuous and traditional South African dishes. What do you think of that Mr South African publisher from 1951? South Africans across the globe have their roots deeply embedded in their love for excellent traditional foods. It’s no wonder as most of our childhood was spent at the large kombuis table, awaiting a tasty treat from Ouma’s ever-cooking oven.


Just another recipe book?

Remember that delicious smell wafting out of Ouma’s kitchen? With a Kook en Geniet book, you will be well on your way to whipping up a succulent leg of lamb, bread pudding, and apricot jam. You may be thinking not another recipe book. Cookbooks seem to be the latest fashion these days, with a new one popping onto the market every day. Each cookbook chef believes they have the answer to our kitchen blues and dysfunctional cooking habits. And yet, the answer actually lies in going back to the basics.

This is precisely what Ina de Villiers envisioned with her Kook en Geniet recipes. The recipes are excellent for beginners and seasoned chefs looking to create great food in true South African tradition. Starting with the basics of operating the oven and measuring ingredients, it provides advice on preparing different cuts of meat, freezing food, and preparing vegetables. Great news for modern millennials living on microwave meals and cardboard noodles! Finally, there is more to life than endless takeaway meals.


Encouraging kids back into the kitchen

Are you tired of seeing the kids sitting on their phones or tablets? It’s tough trying to engage them in anything other than online games and t.v these days, but the age-old trick is to invite them into the kitchen. Kids of all ages enjoy fun-filled afternoons creating delicious tasting food, which tastes even better because they made it themselves!

Cooking encourages independence and teaches children a lifelong skill that will continue to benefit them long after leaving the safety of home. Enter Klein Kook en Geniet published in May 2020, the author Eunice van der Berg non-other than the daughter of  S.J.A (Ina de Villiers)! As prudent as her mother, she realised the engaging power of the humble kitchen. She has taken her mothers’ recipes, keeping the original book’s magic, and updated the recipes to suit children and young adults.

The Cook and enjoy recipe book teaches children to follow recipes, use various kitchen utensils, measurements, and cooking terminology. It’s packed with fifty-five recipes ranging from pizza to sweets, providing kids with a firm cooking foundation. Take a quick peek at an excerpt from the Klein Kook en Geniet recipe book.  As you can see, these Kook en Geniet recipes are extremely clear and explain each cooking process step in detail.


Who is S.J.A (Ina de Villiers)

This strong South African woman was born on 24 February 1919. As a young adult, she attended the University of Stellenbosch, where she studied Home Economics. She wrote her first book, Kook en Geniet as a comprehensive guide for young women. Nowadays, young married couples starting out on their own still find her advice invaluable. The book has always been successful and has remained in print to this day, published by Human and Rousseau after retirement from her publishing business in 1990.

It just goes to show that traditional cooking never goes out of fashion! 1961 saw her publish the English translation ‘Cook and Enjoy It’, which also enjoyed success. Sadly, this cooking legend passed away at the grand age of 91 on 20 September 2010. South Africa celebrates Heritage Month in September each year. What a great way to remember Ina for her contributions to the heritage South Africans so proudly celebrate!


Where can you find Kook en Geniet recipes?

The Kook en Geniet cookbooks contain over seven hundred recipes that comprehensively cover many culinary aspects, from mixing drinks to getting the most from your oven. Basic vegetable preparation and freezer tips are also included alongside traditional recipes that will remind you of your childhood. It truly is the kitchen bible to have! Modern copies of Kook en Geniet range from R200 – R400 however, if it’s an original edition you are after, book prices can range between R650 – R950. Amazon and eBay are good places to find a  Kook en Geniet for sale.


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