Thursday, 4 August 2011

Daughter dearest


She arrived home to spend some time with family. The youngest and sweetest is leaving the family nest and heading to the west. Land of big skies and big mines. 
Up early to get ‘things’ ready. Cake tins, measuring jugs, pots and pans, the oven is on and recipe books cover the bench top. It’s time to celebrate and what better way do we know than with food! Food helps us to celebrate and it helps us to grieve. This ceremony encompasses both. Western Australia is a long way. It’s 4 hours in a plane, which the same as London to North Africa.
Memories are being made while the sugar and butter are mixed to ‘pale and fluffy’, family histories are sifted through the fine flour and added to the mix to create a strong but light bond. Flavours are added, pertaining to the cook and the occasion. Orange cakes are one of my favourite; they remind me of the warm sunny days of childhood. This cake is more complicated - a layer cake for the intricacies of this complex family.
The chicken and vegetable soup is already on the stove, bubbling away absorbing warmth and love. It’s what will start the meal, a soup to warm the hearts, to soften the palate. The middle course will be a beef stew, cooked on low heat for hours, as the liquid reduces and the flavour enhances. I love slow cooking. To create something slowly and simply, patiently over time is so rewarding.
People come and go in the house, commenting on the aromas that tickle their olfactory senses, prepare stomachs and minds for the big evening event. I am merely an observer, listening in to the snippets of conversation that thread this family together. To them, they are living life, doing what they do. 

1 comment:

  1. this is a wonderful essay. i love how you correlate emotions with the acts of preparing/cooking food. (i'm looking for the right word-i'm sure i'll find it after i've hit the 'post comment' button.)

    when i first started to write, i wanted to write my family's story and including the recipes for the simple food we used to make - mostly improvised as we were really poor growing up. i think that that is a more perfect project for you. and you can incorporate your photography in it, too. you should consider doing that. i know i will buy that book. you, however, will have to inscribe a personal message with your autograph. love this a lot, DG.

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