Some more, please: Warming up family memories

2011-01-26 14:43

My granny died almost 10 years ago, but my family have been remembering her culinary legacy of late – memories that have been brought on by a kitchen appliance.

I recently pulled her cute little all-glass convection oven out of retirement.

Sick of warming up an oven you could fit two piglets in just to warm up potato cakes for the toddler, I rapidly developed a crush on the convection oven.

It’s hot to trot in a few minutes and it’s mesmerising to watch the food brown and sizzle as you chill out on the sofa. Its spare efficiency appealed to my granny and tied in with her most famous saying: “Waste not, want not.”

Having lived through World War 2 with two toddlers, she knew how to make food last, but more than that she made it magical. Probably to make sure that her war-era children ate what was on the table.

When my cousins and I were children she’d serve fairy sandwiches. Apparently made by the fairies, though we never saw them doing it, just the finished product – tiny, perfect triangles (a fairy could make 16 sandwiches out of a human sized one) filled with whatever granny wanted finished up in the fridge.

As a teenager I loved to visit, where during cricket season you’d get a lesson in strategy, and the rest of the year she’d talk about great books (she introduced me to JRR Tolkien, Georgette Heyer, Robert Graves and Agatha Christie), plays that changed the world, but never about TV (which was determined ignored unless the cricket was on).

And to feed the debate were the lunches – garlic cabbage, carrot salad, slices of ripe tomato and brown bread with butter were the staples.

Other than that there was either corned beef or tuna fish with Trim mayonnaise.

Of course, the attraction wasn’t the food, though that’s what my greedy memory banks always remember, it was the conversations with my granny – a woman who know a lot about everything and shared it with us.

So as I listen to the little glass oven humming along, I am keeping my granny’s anecdotes, catch-phrases and idiosyncrasies alive for the toddler who will in turn keep them alive for her descendents – proving that we all do indeed live forever in the most meaningful way, through the people we love and who love us.

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