After Toast: A Story about the Kindness of Strangers

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu

Today, something spectacular happened.

But first, some background.

A few weeks ago I braced the Joburg rains and my own shyness to attend the launch of a new cookbook called TWO by MasterChefSA sisters Seline and Leandri van der Wat.

I was covering the event for work – tweeting, taking notes, snapping pictures of the guests all giddy – and after making my way round the room (twice) I had to submit to the scariest part of the evening – sitting down and making small talk.

As it happened, I ended up at the main table with the author-chefs, and I just started wishing for the earth to implode when the man and woman on my left started chatting to me (and sharing their wine with me, that always helps).

We chatted nonstop all through starters, mains and dessert, and at one point in the night (probably after glass number two, I’m a lightweight) I admitted that I couldn’t cook for shit. Shawn quickly reassured me that I was merely in the toast phase of my life, and this too shall pass. He recommended that I get a book called After Toast, which contains easy-to-prepare dishes for people reaching mid to late adulthood.

Today, something spectacular happened.

I was working on my fourth story for the day when the parcel was dropped off on my desk. I glanced at the brown envelope with suspicion (it’s like when my phone rings and I start peeing my pants, who wants what now?!) but when I started opening it I realised what it was – my very own copy of After Toast by Kate Gibbs.

Anna and Shawn, two attorneys from Sandton, Johannesburg, not only remembered me but had the thoughtful idea to look me up and send me a copy of this awesome cookbook, just as I embark on a new phase in my life (I might not look it but I’m rapidly approaching 30).

Who would’ve thought that something so magical could still happen today? To be in the company of strangers for a few hours, for it to become an experience of profound significance?

Thank you, Anna and Shawn, for your act of kindness.

I leave with a few images from After Toast:




“What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness.” ― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

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