Sunday, 17 June 2012

And so she baked...


As a child, at primary school, we had a choice - school dinners, or packed lunch.

School dinners were mass produced in the school canteen. I have a pervading memory of the smell of the gravy that covered everything savory, and the custard that covered everything sweet.

My Mother was an exceptional cook, and these smells of institutionalised gruels were alien to me, never warming or enticing.

So I was a child who opted to take a packed lunch every day. My Mother's food was always my preference to the unrecognisable slops.

In the mid seventies my Mother was juggling a tight budget around a family of seven, along with school fees and a huge mortgage. So she baked her own bread.

We lived in a small town, where the local bakery was being squashed by the new fangled and cheaper supermarket. The mass produced white sliced wax wrapped loaf was 50 pence. It never went stale. But it tasted of nothing.

So she baked.

She had a houseful of hungry boys who devoured bread to fill their empty legs. So she baked.

She was a woman who could turn her hand to anything, and had time at home to do so. So she baked.

Our kitchen was always filled with the smell of yeast and rising dough. So she baked.

She was a strong and bouncy Aussie girl with energy to burn - she turned her vitality to good use by never ending kneading. And so she baked.



The gas boiler, in the space of an old range, next to the oven, was the perfect rising place. A mammoth stoneware mixing bowl, filled with dough, covered with a well faded, well loved damp tea towel, found its home. And so she baked.

I would take to school with me wholemeal rolls filled with lettuce and locally made cheeses in summer. And when winter, which seemed to take up most of the English year, hung around, these same wholemeal rolls, spread with thick butter, would be the accompaniment to a Thermos of homemade soup. And so, she baked. She baked for us.

I am proud to say she taught me all of her baking skills. I wonder if I can recall them true.

I think I instinctively know the alchemy that is the staff of life. I do not bake from necessity like she did. But I hope her lessons are ingrained never the less.

And so,  I bake.

I write this with a happy heart. My Mum is so so so much better.

And in the next week I shall be posting up some sensational bread recipes to honour my Mum. And I shall be running a brilliant bread baking giveaway. So come back soon?



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21 comments:

  1. Reading that your mum is so much better has lifted me, Lucy. She seems like such a gentle, devouring soul - it seems fitting that she baked. I'm going to make a batch of Lucy's Mum's Slice as soon as I'm back on my feet. You know it is baked with love and deep thought.

    Oh, I am just so pleased. x

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    1. Thanks Bron. I now need to go stalk you to find outt what is going on in YOUR world. xx

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  2. If she asked Irish soda bread, would love the recipe.

    I am slowly learning the art and the pleasure of baking, it has many joys.

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  3. So glad your mum is doing better.

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    1. Thanks Chloe. You have been riding the ups and downs of this for a great number of years with me. Let us hope that this up period of health is a long one...

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  4. Baking really is one of life's little pleasures isn't it? So many memories are woven into the oven's aromas. So pleased to hear your mum's better. x

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    1. Thanks Kate. Such a refreshing change to be able to post good news. xx

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  5. Claire - head over to here for an Irish soda bread recipe:

    http://acatlikecuriosity.blogspot.com/2012/02/diy-how-to-soda-bread.html

    Keeps my Irishman happy.

    If you want to make it more wholemeal replace half the plain flour with 200g wholemeal seeded bread flour. Yum!

    Sarah

    PS - I love bread and bread recipes - can't wait Lucy!

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    1. Sarah, I may just try your soda bread recipe!

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  6. I am so pleased to read about your Mum...and what a fitting tribute to your wonderful mum's skills as a baker and a providor. Love D x

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    1. You never know, I might even take a vlog of her and I baking. Something I never thought could happen...

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  7. Beautiful to hear (read).
    xx

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    1. Thank you. Beautiful to write too. xx

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  8. I love reading stories about childhood memories, and I especially enjoyed this one.

    We lived in Algeria when I was four and five years old. There was no local shop, so Mom had to make her own bread, ketchup, relishes, baked beans, doughnuts... The aromas that would waft from our kitchen would attract all the kids in the compound to our front door.

    Later when I was a teen, Mom spent time showing me how to bake bread, and it's one of my favourite memories of her.

    Now, I've forgotten a lot, and my bread comes out kind of heavy and crumbly, so I'm looking forward to reading your mum's bread recipes. I'd like to revive that smell of baking bread for my boys; there's nothing like it!

    Thanks for sharing your story, Lucy, and I'm really happy to hear that your mum is better.

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    1. SO true about the smalls and the memories!

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  9. Sorry we haven't kept in contact much but been really sick & busy with trying to keep up with Uni studies & family stuff.

    Glad to hear your mum is better. A close friend of mine (who now lives in India doing Missonary work) taught me how to make my own bread.

    I wish I had a mum like yours who loved to bake, even though I didn't I love to bake.

    (((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

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  10. Just beautiful Lucy. So glad your Mum is doing so much better x

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  11. I wish I could bake...but I am missing that skill! I too remember my mom baking bread.
    I'm happy to hear your Mum is doing better.

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  12. My goodness, Lucy, this is wonderful news about your mum! xxxxxxx I am sure this also works exponentially for you as well, yes?

    Will be back for sure. Desperate for a good bread recipe.

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  13. Looking forward to the bread recipe you'd be posting...I am into the bread-streak recently. Happy to learn that your mum is much better. I too am the packed-lunch type of girl growing up, I am sure my little girl will be a proud member of the team as well. She'll start school in a couple of months.

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I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx