Watch Dineo Ranaka in Ishushu Season 1 on DStv

What’s for dinner, Dineo?

Local 20 May 2022

Ishushu host Dineo Ranaka talks about her three most meaningful meals

What’s for dinner, Dineo?

Moja Love’s (DStv Channel 157) toughest cooking competition series is not about molecular gastronomy or haute cuisine. The stakes are higher and the competition is more cutthroat. Ishushu is bringing out the knives to ask who’s the best cook in the family. Husbands vs wives, sibling rivalry, best friends, daughter-in-law against gogo…you know it’s going to get hot in the kitchen!

Two cooks enter, the lovely host Dineo Ranaka proposes the challenge and shows off a sample of the finished dish, while co-host The Purple Chef (Barney Jiri) gets into the technical details. And then it’s time for the home chefs to cook, intimidate, and trade insults and observations as they work. And while Dineo and The Purple Chef will judge the end result and say their say, the final call on the dish goes to a member of the contestants’ close family. Who better to judge the dish that says “home”?

In Ishushu kitchen you’ll see real South African flavour – dishes so familiar to us that we know how they should be made perfectly, and we’d be willing to fight you on it. The presentation might say that the bunny chow or kota went to Harvard, or the pap went to Harvard and the chicken feet went to UCT, but the flavour had better come from the heart… and don’t neglect the spice rack.

Read on as Dineo talks about some of those elusive ingredients that make home cooking so very special.

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Watch Ishushu Season 1 Mondays at 18:00 on Moja Love (DStv Channel 157) and on Catch Up

Dineo’s top three

Dineo has many meals that feed her soul as well as her body, like her mom’s uphuthu namasi (maize meal with sour milk), the Sunday Seven Colours meals, samp and oxtail, egg and rice, and her grandmother’s porridge.

“These are very much meals that are my favourites from my childhood. They make me nostalgic, even if I eat them now. And in my adult years as a mother myself, I'll always go back when I'm eating those meals at this age to very beautiful childhood memories,” she says.

Each of her three top dishes has a special meaning like love, family, competence and independence, and even safety.

“Egg and rice was always my thing, scrambled egg and rice. It's just one of those meals I used to enjoy eating when I came home from school. I'd always cook the rice or if there was left over rice then I'd use that. I’d fry some onions and toss in some eggs and just mix the two together and take the rice, toss it into the pan with the fried egg, and I could make my own egg fried rice! It's something that I've liked forever, and it was my go-to meal most of the time when I got home after school,” says Dineo.

If she could choose a word to associate with that dish, it would be “confidence”. “I think being creative in the kitchen is a confidence booster, particularly once you've done something well and the people that you're sharing that meal with enjoy it, and they give you praise for how well you've made the dish. I think there's some sort of validation,” she explains.

Among Dineo’s favourite foods are ones that you can’t make yourself, no matter how hard you try. You could follow the recipe down to the minutest step, but the taste really comes from who made it for you. “My grandmother's porridge; she made a white mealie meal porridge that was just the best,” says Dineo. It’s about memory and emotion. “Being at my grandmother's house visiting her, the smell of her home, how she was with us – and how she remains with us because she's still with us – how she's been so consistent. Back then my grandmother's house always smelt safe, it always smelled like home and it was always warm. And the porridge takes me back to my grandmother's house.”

Like grandmother’s porridge, there are dishes she remembers that built her home more than bricks and wood ever could. The Sunday Seven Colours meals are a case in point – meat, veggie rice, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, beetroot, cabbage, beans salad, potato salad, or coleslaw. “There's no specific memory (attached to the meal), it's literally a part of my life. All of my life is centred around the Sunday Seven Colours meals. I think it's a common dish that we all love across the board in SA. Particularly, it's a big deal within the black community. Seven Colours on a Sunday and good music, and you're on a roll! It's just a dish that's been present consistently every single Sunday in my life.” The feeling when the Seven Colours is on the table? “Pure Joy! Absolute, sheer joy,” says Dineo.

And that’s what we get from Ishushu – a celebration of the meals that make our memories.

Watch Ishushu Season 1 Mondays at 18:00 on Moja Love (DStv Channel 157) and on Catch Up

Moja Love (DStv Channel 157) is available exclusively on DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact and Family. To upgrade your existing package, click here. Or if you'd like to Get DStv, find a service that suits your needs here.

 

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