Thursday, January 10, 2008

Apples and Thyme - For both my Parents

My earliest memories of cooking with my mother are those of a salivating onlooker, eyes just about clearing the wooden trolley that was her work surface in the small galley kitchen of our flat, anxiously watching as she all too thoroughly scraped the chocolate cake batter into the cake tin. Her hand-written recipe book, bursting with loose leaves of recipes tucked into the back, would be somewhere on the trolley with a light dusting of flour on its pages.

We were always convinced there wouldn't be enough left for us and clamoured as the spatula did its job too well for us. In the end there always was plenty for us to 'lick the bowl', scraping out with our teaspoons, but the draw of the cake mixture had us under her feet in the small space from the word go. She must have borne with us patiently enough, for a few years later I was proudly baking my own biscuits, drop scones and cakes, having absorbed the know-how over the years of impatiently waiting for the cake bowl to be handed over. Now my children are right there at my elbow in a frenzy of anticipation just the same - I have to do a little surreptitious scraping of my own before handing it over - I haven't grown out of wanting to lick the bowl yet!

My preference for baking cakes whenever I need to make our house feel homely, my opening the recipe book (mine is a file of plastic sleeves stuffed with pages of copied down recipes) even when I've made a recipe a thousand times before, have all been handed down directly from her... and we both make a pretty good cake!

This is part of the post I've been meaning to write for ages for Vanieljie Kitchen's Apples and Thyme blog event, which celebrates time spent in the kitchen with mothers and grandmothers.

What makes remembering my childhood poignant to me at the moment is that my father, Derek, is in hospital back in Somerset in the UK, with pneumonia. His whole system is tired after months of struggling with ill health and we are all sending him positive healing energy, prayers and love to help him recover and get home as soon as possible. I would love it if some of my blog friends could help by sending thoughts, prayers, energy or light to him. And of course to my mother, to help her with the hardship of seeing one's loved partner of so many years in pain and trouble.

Daddy, I've been sending you South African energy all day, looking at Table Mountain, sending you thoughts from the cricket field where your grandson was playing a match today: green grass; nine years olds shouting at each other to try for fours 'cos they're safer than sixes, you don't get caught; disappointment as he got caught for 1 run; triumph as he bowled a maiden over. I hope the distilled essence of it reached you, with the scent of a hot summer's day and the smell of cut grass, tall trees shading the edge of the field, the sides of Table Mountain looming benevolently. All the family are just going to the circle to send you some more special energy now. All our love, Kit


  1. Kit I'm sure the love and positive memories are pouring in to your dad. Thank you for sharing this with us and our thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. beautiful memories to be sure. Isn't it always the same: frightening anticipation that this time there won't be any lickings left in the bowl!

    California's doing its part sending energy and good wishes your dad's way.

  3. Kit:
    I am sending prayers and healing energy to your Dad and Mom and also to you - I know how difficult it is to be so far away when a parent is seriously ill.

  4. Kit - that is a beautiful post. My thoughts and prayers are with your parents. As Mary Alice said, I too know how difficult it is to be far away when parents are ill. Keep a smile on your will help your dad :)

  5. Oh Kit, I have tears in my eyes. What a poignant post, full of loving memories of your mom and her kitchen and the positive thoughts for your dad. I can relate as my mom struggled in ill health for years and passed recently. I will send loving light to him and to your family. Thanks so much for participating in our event!

  6. Kit, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I will immediately send healing thoughts. Caffeinated Cowgirl, is right, keep a smile on your face as it will help your Dad. I'm pleased you were sending him South Afriacan energy and warmth as it really is one of those awful grey winters here in the UK. I do believe that he'll feel that sun on his skin. Take care

  7. Your childhood memories sound a lot like mine... My brother and I used to get a choice - we could lick the bowl or lick the twin whisk attachments of the mixer. And let me assure you, competition was fierce!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!