Friday, 3 January 2014

A whisk, a wooden spoon and a mixing bowl.

I have spent a bit of time in the kitchen over the past two weeks (there’s a surprise!) and I was wondering to myself how much things have changed since my grandmother’s time. 

A recipe for healthy eating, I am told, is never to eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognise. This may steer you away from turkey twizzlers and highly processed foods, but I don’t believe that their diet was all that healthy although they ate a good deal less and walked a good deal more.

However, I was thinking more about the kitchen equipment.  I have no idea what it was like when my grandmother was first married at the end of WW1 but I do have vivid memories of her kitchen and my mother’s when I was a child.

The things I recognise are the wooden spoon, colander, sieve, grater, whisk, slotted spoon, mixing bowls amongst others – all used frequently over the holidays.  I do remember the agonies of the hand beater, which formed part of my kitchen equipment when I started off – now it has been overtaken by a variety of electric mixers and beaters.  My grandmother and mother both had Sunbeam Mixmasters, which were used for whipped cream, egg whites and cakes, but my most used piece of equipment is definitely the food processor.

A New Year’s present from Number One Husband’s brother was a file of handwritten recipes from their mother who was a superb baker.  Whenever she came to London to stay she would copy out their favourite recipes and bring them.  I have quite a number of them already but missing (but now found) was the one for caramel shortbread – known here as Millionaire’s Shortbread.  I have found a similar recipe but nothing is the same as the one you ate as a child.

I wouldn’t want you to think all the childhood memories in the family only revolve around food (you wouldn’t be entirely wrong) and certainly my children have very fond memories of arriving in Cape Town to stay with Granny and the curved sideboard that was full of tins of biscuits – each type in a different tin.  Now that I am not working full time I have the time and the inclination to do the same – making biscuits is very relaxing and almost without exception all the recipes are hers.  Some new ones to experiment with once the tins are empty! 

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