discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

In my kitchen ~ November 2015

I know we say it each month, and I missed last months IMK series, but they are zooming by and before we know it 2016 is going to be kicking at our heels!!! I've been busy doing orders for @agluttonouswifehooks (look me up on instagram) but I did just want to share a few things with you all even if it's not a proper "in my kitchen", it's things that have happened in my kitchen, I hope you'll forgive and humor me.

A few months ago I entered a comp with the lovely Lorraine which was totally on a was about memories of cooking and here was my entry of 25 words: "cooking mama's chutney evokes special memories - I'm keeping tradition going - eating it on toast & butter straight from the saucepan & fighting over the jars." Low and behold, awhile later I received an email I almost sent to my junk emails but it was a notice telling me I had won a spot in the CSR "Made for Memories" cookbook.

"Squeel!!!!" NO!!! Really, me? Our a cookbook? I was so thrilled you have no idea. Or maybe you do! My small amount of words tried to sum up the sentiment, taste and treasure that was my Mama's chutney.

The little insert photo of mama was mine but the food styling wasn't.  We would never have had our chutney as in this photo.
Mama is my almost 90 year old grandmother (January 3rd 2016 will be the big milestone) who is more like a best friend to me. She had 11 children to a husband who didn't crack up to all she had hoped, to put it mildly. But, she raised them on her own in a 3 bedroom house on the smell of an oily rag and did a remarkable, selfless job. When I was growing up, a gazillion years ago (1980s, I'm not THAT old!!) , there was no daycare other than Mama. Lucky for us grandies. We were left to explore and be seen and not heard until meal times. Her ability to make a meal from nothing or have grated potato cakes doled out to too many grandchildren and adults to count as well as her famous potato & spaghetti soup, pancakes, or zucchini slice, or roast lamb shoulder to name a few and then having a batch of scones in the oven before we could wash the backyard dirt from our hands was a thing of legend. I have documented Mama's famous scones here

an old photo of Mama and my Mum xxx
I moved away from my country town as soon as high school allowed and it wasn't until I returned many, many years later, got married, then fell pregnant that I was home with my own child that our relationship changed from grandmother to a real friendship which we developed and was nurtured. She was a wealth of knowledge for me especially in those blinkered months of a new born baby: "give her some 'carb soda (bicarbonate of soda) it won't hurt, I did it with mine", when my daughter wouldn't settle, "put her in the bath, it will settle her"...."they are too spoilt!"..."it's easier to raise other peoples children" and this ripper "what is bred in the bone, comes out in the flesh" were only a few of the pearls of wisdom she would recount and I would gobble up. During my maternity leave, bearly a day went by that Mama didn't come and visit me for a cuppa or a light lunch, it was my break from the Groundhog day.

Many years later when I was struck down with my own illness, I then started to have Mama visit almost daily again. I had a few alterier motives. I had lots of time on my hands and I knew that she was a great baker and from who knows where this desire to bake filled me. I'd scour the internet, magazines and cookbooks to come up with fail proof methods. Mama was my ruthless critic. "No, it's not cooked enough"... "It could do with less fruit".. ."Hmm this could just be my favourite lunch" (my own home grown eggs in a cheesey omelette with brown field mushrooms fried with lots of butter, parsley and garlic) "Yes, that is perfect..." I think it needs more sugar..."Maybe next time use less spice". Although it sounds like tough love, I adored her for her honesty as she knew I was keen to learn. I devoured her old handscribed cookbooks and really loved evoking food memories for her.
Mama grating butter for her legendary scones
As the months and a few years went on, it was only in the months preceeding this chance opportunity, that Mama had been served a few very terrible health blows, one that held both her mortility and independance in it's hands. Ever cherished by all of our family, it's with a deep breath that I say she is still with us - what a fighter she is, thank the Lord. When I went to see her with the cookbook in my hand she was absolutely amazed to see herself in print - smiling photo and all. ( She is reknowned to not smile and have her eyes closed in each family photo!!)

So it is with a full heart and thankfulness to both CSR and Lorraine for this wonderful opportunity, and hopefully the family helps with record sales :)

Thanks to Celia for the IMK series each month, pop over and check out other peoples kitchens!

Ciao, Jan x
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