The following was posted Feb 12 2014 on an earlier blog that I had. There were three comments. It is such a while ago that I need to set the picture straight on the wall. When she was about 40 years old my mother was in a very bad accident. We all were actually but she was hurt the most. She spent about a month in an induced coma but eventually was able to walk, slowly with the aid of a four pronged walking stick. She couldn’t use a walking frame because that would require two hands and one of hers wasn’t too flash.
She would light the oven by spearing a match onto the end of a carving knife because that was the only way she could reach the gas at the back of the stove. I know of one occasion when the match fell off the knife and she had to start again but by the time she had affixed the match there was quite a buildup of gas so that as she bent to light the flame the gas exploded and threw her across the kitchen.
But she cooked. She cooked cakes and custard and she would ram a mixing bowl under her useless arm and mix her cake with her good hand. It might have taken a while but it always worked. When my first marriage ran into disaster we lived, my two children and I, with my father and mother. The children were only young and still in primary school.
Back in 2014 I asked all of her grandchildren to tell me about Grandma’s cooking. Alexandra wrote the following. I haven’t edited it. It is just as she gave it to me. (PS. She is Ida May’s mother.)
I asked everyone to tell me about food. This is what Alex wrote. I haven’t edited it at all. It’s just as she said.
Golden Syrup Pudding
Tea cake with passionfruit /lemon icing
When grandpa would pull the car to a stop at the front door after collecting us from school there would be a race into the kitchen with shouts of BUZZ THE BOWL! BUZZ THE SPOON. The smell would have greeted us the moment the car door was flung open. Jackets, shoes and bags would be thrown down and as we skidded to a stop in Grandma’s kitchen. She would look over from whatever she was doing and slowly say after a few moments consideration, ‘Here Alex, you start on the beaters. Danny there’s the bowl.’ (Editor’s note. This was so that they could lick the cake mixture off the spoon and bowl.)
I figure, thinking about it now, if the smell of baking was already evident then she must have saved them for us.
Salads with cubes of cheese.
Cold Ham or roast.
and porridge. But grandpa would make that. With a ridiculous amount of sugar on top. He would chink his spoon in his bowl and bring it to his mouth (from the edge where it’s cooler…always a lesson to be found in the everyday), and this would all happen quite quickly. Chink. Slurp. Chink. Slurp.
Every dinner time we waited for Grandma to pick up her spoon/fork before we ate. Grandma at the kitchen end of the dining table that is now at my father’s house. Grandpa opposite. Dad near Grandma, ‘Would you like me to cut your steak up Mum?’ Dad would ask every time, as though she was more than capable of doing it herself.
When she was no longer in the walker (‘She once said to me, ‘Don’t think I can’t catch you!’ and made me laugh until I fell on the floor. At which point she caught me’) there was less Grandma and more Grandpa.
To balance it out.
I would hide my peas under my seat. Boiled to death and sometimes with mint. Blech blech blech. Brussels sprouts. Blech! White sauce cauliflower, or worst yet without white sauce. Grandpa asking one of us to help with the gravy made on the roasting tray. Always a LOT of gravy.
Handing out fruit slice to the bible study guests, with butter spread on it.
The big triangle being rung to call us in for dinner.
So that’s what Alex remembered. Bits and pieces.
And a few shots of her from before the accident.