Ways to go co­conuts

Glamour (South Africa) - - All About You - By chef and cook­book au­thor Louisa Shafia.

Q“I lent money to a friend a few months ago, and she still hasn’t paid me back. I don’t know how to ask her for the cash with­out seem­ing rude. What should I do?”

Lend­ing money to a friend seems like a good idea at the time, but when that cash isn’t re­paid, it can lead to re­sent­ment. So don’t worry about com­ing across as rude – she is be­ing rude by not pay­ing back what she bor­rowed!

Deal with this sooner rather than later, and write down what you want to say be­fore con­tact­ing her. Don’t be ac­cusatory, and talk about your feel­ings to lessen the chances of her get­ting de­fen­sive. Try say­ing, “I’m up­set be­cause I haven’t re­ceived the money I lent you.”

Now be quiet! Don’t weaken your state­ment by apol­o­gis­ing or de­fend­ing your­self. When she has re­sponded, ask her to agree on a date for re­pay­ment. Follow up with a mes­sage con­firm­ing your agree­ment, so it is in writ­ing.

When some­one asks you for money in the fu­ture, say you’ll think about it, but don’t im­me­di­ately reach for your purse – espe­cially if your fi­nances don’t al­low it.

1Cook with the oil This kitchen es­sen­tial has a sub­tle aroma of vir­gin oil which makes it great for trop­i­cal dishes and sautéing light in­gre­di­ents, like seafood or veg­gies. It can also be used for bak­ing. Just like but­ter, co­conut oil is solid at room tem­per­a­ture and liq­uid when warm, so try it in place of some of the but­ter in cake recipes to lighten them up and add a nutty flavour.

2Fac­tor in flakes Think of co­conut flakes as your new nut. Toast them, then add to gra­nola, or sprin­kle over yo­ghurt or grains for a tasty fin­ish. But do use unsweet­ened flakes – the sweet­ened stuff is a sugar bomb!

3Milk it We’ve long been us­ing co­conut milk in cur­ries, but re­cently we’ve found it in­dis­pens­able at break­fast as a creamy ad­di­tion to cof­fee, oats or smooth­ies in place of milk or yo­ghurt.

4Sweeten up Sugar made from the co­conut palm is less re­fined than white sugar, so it re­tains a good amount of potas­sium and iron. And it’s a bless­ing for any baker in­ter­ested in al­ter­na­tive sugars as it’s an equal sub­sti­tute for white sugar. Find it in some su­per­mar­kets and at nat­u­ral food stores, like Well­ness Ware­house.

5Add wa­ter Surely you got the memo that co­conut wa­ter is hy­drat­ing? But it’s good for more than just re­plac­ing lost potas­sium af­ter a work­out. Co­conut wa­ter can lend a hint of flavour to food: add a splash to a poach­ing liq­uid – again, go trop­i­cal and add lemon­grass and lime – for chicken or a firm white fish, like cod.

Louisa Shafia is the au­thor of the e-book Lu­cid Food (Pot­ter/ Ten­speed/ Har­mony; R313) and The New Per­sian Kitchen (Ran­dom House; R396).

et’s face it, Google is one of the world’s best firms to work for. From high-tech nap pods, free meals and laun­dry ser­vices to mas­sage cred­its and ac­cess to ground­break­ing lec­tures, it’s a fun and su­per­pro­duc­tive work­place. Dur­ing my four years there as a user ex­pe­ri­ence de­signer, I learnt loads – above all else, how to be my­self and get ahead. I left last year and those lessons have stuck with me – and you don’t have to work at the Google­plex for them to help you, too.

The Google re­cruit­ment process is in­tense and in­cludes hav­ing your phone screened, a take-home project, two days of in­ter­views and a presentation. At one stage, I sat in a con­fer­ence room with five equally ner­vous strangers. So, I an­nounced I’d be pre­sent­ing my de­sign port­fo­lio as an in­ter­pre­tive dance. It was a silly joke, but it broke the ten­sion and, more im­por­tantly, I was be­ing my­self. Be­ing com­fort­able in your own skin shows con­fi­dence and lead­er­ship po­ten­tial.

2Sched­ule me-time dur­ing your day We could block off between 30 min­utes and two hours in our work cal­en­dars for per­sonal time as needed. Google trusts em­ploy­ees to do this when­ever it feels best for them. The aim was

A few weeks in, I was work­ing one-on-one with a prod­uct man­ager. He asked me to look up some­thing on my lap­top, but I clearly wasn’t speedy enough, as he took my lap­top and did it him­self. I quickly re­alised that Google moves at an in­cred­i­bly fast pace and I felt pres­sure to share an in­stant opin­ion on de­sign or strate­gic di­rec­tion. How­ever, my knee-jerk re­ac­tion of­ten dif­fered from the (bet­ter) opin­ion I later had.

Tak­ing time to con­sider all the op­tions gives you a greater chance of mak­ing the right de­ci­sion from the start. In short: don’t be afraid to say, “I need some time to think about that.” I worked with bril­liant lead­ers dur­ing my time at Google, but there was one per­son in par­tic­u­lar who I re­ally ad­mired. When he was in a meet­ing, de­ci­sions were made faster and, best of all, we had fun. But it wasn’t that he had the best ideas – he just did an amaz­ing job of lis­ten­ing to what ev­ery­one was say­ing, and mak­ing con­nec­tions to bring us closer to our goal. Be­ing a great leader isn’t al­ways about talk­ing non-stop and wow­ing with your cre­ativ­ity – some­times, it’s about ex­pos­ing the cre­ativ­ity in your team.

iskipped work the day af­ter I got dumped be­cause I felt phys­i­cally ill from the or­deal. A day later, I was fine, if a lit­tle prone to cry­ing. Sure, I was sad, but I wasn’t re­ally wor­ried about my fu­ture: I would heal and be just fine.

And I was. But the world didn’t seem to think so. Lit­tle did I know that I was about to en­ter four years of real-life quar­an­tine be­cause I had been in­fected with a dread­ful ail­ment – sin­gle­dom! And you’d think it was con­ta­gious.

For count­less sup­pers, wed­dings and hol­i­days to follow, I would be seated in life’s equiv­a­lent of the sick pa­tient wait­ing area at the doc­tor’s of­fice. My acupunc­tur­ist even told me I prob­a­bly wouldn’t feel truly OK again un­til I found some­one new. Things looked bleak, even in the opin­ion of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

De­spite this, I flew solo for four great years. I learnt to ig­nore the looks, com­ments and OTT sym­pa­thy. It wasn’t un­til I met my now boyfriend, James, that I got in­fu­ri­ated all over again. I up­dated my re­la­tion­ship sta­tus and ku­dos poured in: “You de­serve it!” “Good for you, it’s bru­tal out there!” It was as if I’d kicked meth or got my de­gree.

For weeks, I was show­ered with praise and well wishes. Just like that, I wasn’t a mutt in the shel­ter any longer.

OK, world. We’re in the year 2017 here. It’s crazy to still live in a cul­ture that sees less value in a sin­gle woman’s con­tri­bu­tions than in those of women who have sex­ual and emo­tional team­mates. Yes, a re­la­tion­ship can be beau­ti­ful, with mo­ments that take your breath away, but guess what? So can sin­gle life.

In the years I spent sin­gle, I achieved more than I had in my en­tire adult life up un­til that point. I started an ac­claimed pod­cast with a com­edy part­ner, signed to the big­gest tal­ent agency in the world, ap­peared on TV mul­ti­ple times, got out of debt, lost weight, be­came a hap­pier per­son… I even gave a TED Talk. As a sin­gle woman, I be­came a bet­ter ver­sion of me.

And it was the first time in my life that I knew ex­actly what I wanted to con­trib­ute to the world. I was more emo­tion­ally whole than ever be­fore. And I was whole, solo!

I was suc­ceed­ing so much that when I met James, I was kind of an­noyed. Why did the Uni­verse send me some­one so won­der­ful in the mid­dle of my ca­reer win­ning streak? I’m cer­tainly not hop­ing James dumps me, but the facts about sin­gle life should not be clas­si­fied any longer. I sup­pose the rea­son for all the shade is that as long as we keep straight, sin­gle women ques­tion­ing their value, men will al­ways be a hot com­mod­ity and the fam­ily unit will re­main safe. But the truth is this: be­ing sin­gle isn’t bet­ter or worse than be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship. It’s just dif­fer­ent.

I love James and I’m grate­ful that some­one came into my life who is dry-wit­ted, un­apolo­get­i­cally him­self and able to recog­nise that the fast-food chain with the best Diet Coke is def­i­nitely Mcdon­ald’s, but every now and then, I re­flect on that time I went to the movies to see Spring Break­ers alone on a Fri­day night. It was great – both my el­bows had arm­rests.

“The con­cept of a man pay­ing is tied up in the idea that he’s a provider, and part of fem­i­nism is that women aren’t trapped in tra­di­tional gen­der roles. But why is it a prob­lem? Once you set­tle down, you’ll have to con­trib­ute fi­nan­cially, plus the gen­der pay gap is a strong rea­son for him to pay. Some men sub­sidise women’s lesser pay and higher ex­penses – it’s not that strange.” – Heather Boushey, econ­o­mist

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