What do you feed a man who spent decades eating prison food in the name of freedom and reconciliation?

It was an intimidating question that Xoliswa Ndoyiya wasn’t sure she knew how to answer. It was about 20 years ago, and at the time she was just a young cook working at a Jewish retirement home in Johannesburg, South Africa. But a friend had urged her to apply for the job as Nelson Mandela’s personal chef.

So she did. And when he met her, he immediately put her at ease.

“I believe that you are a great cook, but can you cook our food?” Ndoyiya recalled being asked by Mandela, who had recently been released from prison. It was a reference to the Xhosa foods that Mandela had grown up eating, simple dishes rich with porridge-like maize, beans and vegetables.

Ndoyiya said she smiled. Yes, she knew ukutya kwasekhaya, the term South Africa’s Xhosa clan uses to describe comfort food.

“That was the end of the interview. I was hired,” she said in a recent telephone interview. She has been with him ever since.

Now she is sharing the home cooking that Mandela loves in a cookbook, “Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen” (Real African Publishers), which uses food as a fresh way to recount Mandela’s life, from anti-apartheid fighter to prisoner to president to retired statesman.

Ndoyiya’s book is a charming collection of mostly rustic, classic South African recipes, including many of Mandela’s childhood favorites, such as umngqusho, or crushed maize and beans cooked in beef stock.

“(Mandela) gets sad if days go by and I haven’t cooked umngqusho,” she writes in the book.

Simpson fashions mom-to-be look

NEW YORK — New mother Jessica Simpson is launching a line of clothing for moms-to-be.

With it all still fresh in her mind, the 31-year-old singer-actress, who gave birth to daughter Maxwell Drew Johnson on May 1, announced Monday a partnership between Camuto Group, the master licensee behind her label, and retailer Destination Maternity.

The clothes, with a hint of a 1970s vibe, will be in stores in the fall. She said she’ll aim for clothes “flattering to your baby bump.”

Simpson famously tweeted while pregnant that she dreamed she went to the hospital wearing an animal-print kaftan.

This collection builds on her already strong fashion portfolio, with 24 product categories, including clothes, jewelry, shoes and beauty products.

Simpson is a regular on NBC’s “Fashion Star” competition show.

Jay-Z plans music fest with 30 acts

PHILADELPHIA — Jay-Z is in a Philadelphia State of Mind, and the result is a two-day music festival scheduled for Labor Day weekend. It will feature nearly 30 acts “that embody the American spirit” across three stages at Fairmount Park.

Jay-Z was joined Monday by Mayor Michael Nutter atop the city’s art museum steps, made famous by the movie “Rocky.” The “Budweiser Made in America” festival will benefit United Way Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Tickets go on sale May 23 and will include rap, rock, R&B, Latin and dance performers.

The New York-born rapper says 70 percent of the acts are confirmed. A feverish crowd of fans was on hand Monday, chanting his name. When one yelled out that Jay-Z’s act was best, the rapper paused and said: “I agree.”

Actress gets kidney transplant

NEW YORK — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland has had a kidney transplant after a lifetime of pain and fatigue.

Hyland, 21, who plays big-eyed teenager Haley Dunphy on the hit ABC comedy, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” for a report aired Monday that she had the surgery in April.

At age 9, Hyland was diagnosed with abnormal kidney development. The condition often left her exhausted or in pain. But as her health grew worse, she began seeking an organ donor. Her father, actor Edward James Hyland, was a match.

She says she tells her dad, “It’s weird — I’ve got your kidney in me.”

Hyland plans to spend the show’s summer hiatus recovering from her surgery.

Her secret struggle is also reported in the current issue of Seventeen magazine.