February 26, 2006

Tucked Away in a Crescent of Mountains…

I went to San Francisco last weekend, and stayed with my cousin in the Mission district. He came to Cali many years ago to work, and then just ended up staying.

Middle-class, white South Africans often work overseas; we wait tables, we program computers, we run other people’s countries. It’s practically a rite of passage to take a year off between school and varsity, do grunt work in London on an ancestral visa, and come back home with enough money to buy a car, or even put down money on a flat. Those that come home, that is. Post-Apartheid, affirmative action makes it harder to get a job, so many head overseas. The braindrain of skilled South Africans does the economy at home no favours, but most talk about coming home at some point. They miss the weather, the people, the biltong. I know I do, and I think my cousin does, too.

Opening his fridge made me smile; there was Mrs Balls' Chutney, peri-peri sauce, and of course, Castle lager (in his meats/deli drawer). But most importantly, three different types of Ceres fruit juices.

Generations of South Africans grew up on Ceres. We practically learnt how to read from spending years staring at the inspirational spiel on the back of the carton: Tucked away in a crescent of mountains… In fact, word-perfect recitation of the Ceres creed could be a sort of South African shibboleth. I think Ceres knows how nostalgic its juice makes me; on its website, it states that:

Although it was developed predominantly for family consumption, its appeal extends to discerning adults with solid family values.

Adults with solid family values, hmm? As opposed to…? Anarchists? Porn stars? Floor-crossing South African politicians? It's a pity, because these juices make mean cocktail mixers.

It goes without saying that it's great juice. 100% fruit-based, Ceres cleverly adjusts the sourness of certain fruits by mixing in a little bit of apple or grape juice to balance out the flavours. You can buy it here, with a horrendous mark-up, at Wholefoods stores. They don’t have the apple juice I lived off as a kid, only the ‘exotic’ flavours like youngberry and guava. I’d still recommend them to all discerning juice connoisseurs!

And seeing them in my cousin’s fridge gave me hope; hope that if he still needs Ceres, perhaps one day he’ll come home. For good.

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