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 whim....it 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 family....in 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

31 comments :

  1. WOW, what a wonderful story and now you will be known as my "famous friend" ha ha.....such lovely stories to be preserved. I replied to your comment about the condensed milk and sugar being sweet.......there is 5 cups of whole meal flour so divide the amount of biscuits you make....many many and it doesn't seem so bad. Give them a go...the recipe is one of Rhonda's....Kathy

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    1. Gosh Kathy I wouldn't go that far!!!! haha...I'll definately give the biscuits a try - I hadn't realised there was 5 cups of flour!!! xxx

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  2. Aww I love this post Jan! I'm so glad that Mama saw the book in print!! You're so welcome Jan and this post has made my day :D

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  3. I had to laugh at the text styling :) I don't know what the reason is but John and I would be happy to have a look. email me at maureen @ orgasmicchef.com (no spaces) and we'll do our best to figure it out.

    I loved every word about what's in your kitchen and congratulations on the book!

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    1. Thanks so much Maureen, I'll fire you an email although I've done nothing new so not sure what's happened...and thanks for your kind words :) x

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  4. What an awesome story Jan! Congrats on the recipe in the cook book...she would have been so surprised. In many ways it symbolises the positive impact she has on your life :)

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    1. Thanks so much Jem!!! She has had such an impact you are so right, she's one in a million xxx

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  5. Oh wow, how lovely that your family recipe wound up in a book. That's how we keep these recipes and all the traditions and memories alive.

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    1. Thanks so much Jennifer - you are so right ;)

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  6. what a blessing to have your grandmother still alive! And how amazing to be showcased in a recipe book :)

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    1. a wonderful blessing Tandy, I actually still have my paternal grandmother also, she'll be 91 next month - great genes!! x

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  7. How lovely for you that Mama's recipe is in print. That's the best IMK post I've read for ages.

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  8. Lovely, lovely post. That's the power of family and shared meals - they glue us all together x

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  9. What a lovely post. Your grandmother is an amazing woman. I just can't imagine raising 11 children! People back then were amazing and they did it all without complaining xx

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    1. She sure is amazing Charlie - she surprisingly can't imagine raising 11 children either!!! :)

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  10. What a wonderful story and even better to be able to share it and have her recipe in print.

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  11. What a fabulous surprise to be printed in a cookbook.,....just love that photo of your mum and grandmum....they look so much alike....just gorgeous !!

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    1. Sure is Suzie :)x Thanks so much, I just love that photo

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  12. What a lovely story Jan. Thanks for sharing it with us. Sounds like you deserve to be in the Made of Memories Cookbook.

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  13. Oh, I'm so happy for you, Jan! What a thrill it must be to have your recipe published. And, you are so deserving. I was unaware of your illness so it makes everything you do even more amazing. Keep doing what you do. xo

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  14. Jan, first, congratulations on having this recipe published. I liked your brief entry (proof that a few well chosen words can convey a lot -- remind me of that, ha!) Second, I'm hoping and praying for you & your Mama to have THE best celebration on January 3rd. As for the rest of your story, it was heartwarming to read (loved the photos, too) and you don't need my permission (or forgiveness or humor) to share from your heart again. IMK involves EVERYTHING going on in your kitchen. Simply wonderful!

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  15. that is a really wonderful story about your grandmum. how lucky you are/were to have her. i went in for that comp. too so i am glad to see someone i "know" get their family recipe in the book. congrats.

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    1. Thanks Sherry, yes still very lucky to "have" her!! :) x

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  16. What a beautiful story, Jan! Congratulations, too, for getting your mama included in that cookbook. <3

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