From banana bread to homemade beer: What's been cooking under lockdown

24 December 2020 - 14:00 By unathi nkanjeni
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Cheers to pineapple beer!
Cheers to pineapple beer!
Image: 123RF/Mykola Lunov

While the sale of alcohol and hot cooked foods was banned under the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, Mzansi's culinary and distillery skills rocketed.

During levels 4 and 5, the government took a strict line with restaurants, and alcohol outlets, banning them from operating.

The sale and distribution of alcohol was reintroduced in June, more than two months after the ban was implemented in March.

But a second ban was imposed in July, with President Cyril Ramaphosa insisting it was to help reduce trauma-related injuries in hospitals as the country battled to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Restaurants were also allowed to operate in June but with strict conditions of no sit-downs.

However, while regulations were still in place, many booze-lovers started to brew their own liquor at home. Pineapples and ginger were most commonly used.

According to Google SA, searches for “alcohol ban SA” spiked 500% as the national lockdown entered its second week.

High levels of search interest were also seen for the terms “how to get alcohol” and “homemade alcohol”.

The Free State, the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo all showed high levels of search interest for “homemade alcohol”.

Related search queries for “homemade alcohol” included:

  • “homemade beer recipes SA”;
  • “can homemade pineapple beer make you drunk”;
  • “homemade gin”;
  • “homemade alcoholic pineapple beer”; and
  • “how to make alcohol at home fast”.

BusinessLIVE reported that on the first day of the Covid-19 lockdown in March, the Johannesburg fresh produce market sold about 10,000 pineapples. On April 6 and 7 — a few days before the Easter weekend — 60,000 pineapples were sold.

Two weeks after Easter, volumes skyrocketed to 90,000 pineapples.

Another of Mzansi's faves during the lockdown was banana bread.

Many, having so eagerly stocked up on groceries and having taken panic-buying to another level, found themselves with cupboards filled with flour and bananas.

The banana bread craze not only made the trending list on Twitter week after week, as most share their attempts at baking, but it also topped Google's search.

In a survey done by financial services group Sanlam, 90% of South Africans said they learnt to cook or bake during the lockdown, thanks to the images that flooded social media feeds.

Google reported that the most-searched for recipes by South Africans, from March 27 to April 7, were as follows:

  1. Malva pudding
  2. Fudge 
  3. Banana bread
  4. Scones
  5. Tuna pasta
  6. Chocolate brownies
  7. Koeksisters
  8. Bread rolls

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