Sunday, August 10, 2008

The devil is beating his wife

This was something my mother always said when it was raining whilst the sun shone.

*If she heard someone whistling, she'd say 'must be going to rain, the shit bird is whistling'
*If my nose itched, I 'was going to kiss a fool'
*If it was foggy in the morning she'd say her mother always said to 'put the wash water on'. Meaning water to wash the clothes, as I guess if it's foggy in the morning, it will be sunny after it burns off.
Not sure why she'd say those things, but she always did and I never forgot. Another thing she said that I never forgot, and neither have my sons was the following.

When a job is once begun, never leave it 'till it's done.
Be it great, or be it small,
Do it right or not at all.
I still say that!

I'm baking bread so I'm thinking of Mom today. She passed away in 1982. I was pregnant (just) with my 3rd son Joshua. Mummy knew I was pregnant before she died. If I had a girl, Luella would have been part of her name. Obviously I didn't, so Joshua has 4 names. He's Joshua Daniel L., the L. for my mum.

As I said, I was in the kitchen making homemade bread. This also always makes me think of my Aunt Lou, Mummy's sister, as she made THE best homemade bread in the entire world. I never, ever, ever make bread without thinking of her. There was nothing Aunt Lou couldn't cook or bake. They lived on a farm and we'd go visit often. Oh I loved that as I had a love affair with food even in my youth. My mouth is watering thinking of her raspberry (she'd say rahzberry) cobbler. Hot out of the oven with homemade vanilla ice cream on it. She'd make pies with the flakiest crust. Chocolate pies, coconut cream pies, banana cream pies...her meat pies were the VERY best!! Holy shit that woman could bake. She'd fix roasts that were so full of flavor I thought they injected something special in their cows. The chickens she roasted were plump and tasty and just dripping with juice. The fluffiest mashed potatoes and mac and cheese that would darn near bring me to tears. Even her veggies were good. Of course they were all cooked in bacon grease. Bacon grease makes anything good! Sighhh those were the days!

I love making bread. The kneading is cathartic. My mind works as hard as my hands. The tools I use to make my bread are special to me. Aunt Lou's recipe of course. Mommy's bread pans. After you knead the bread it needs to be turned into a greased bowl and covered with a towel. I always used a heavy, glazed bowl that Mom had until it broke. Now I use the heavy, glazed bowl I brought back from Disney Land years and years ago. A whole set, all with Mickey Mouse on the front. Carried them on my lap on the plane all the way home! The towel? Always, always one of the tea towels that Silverback's Mum gave me on my first visit with her. When she learned that I loved tea towels, she insisted I take tons of hers home. I smile now as Silverback says they're pretty much all towels he gave her! Oops, they're mine now and I always think of her when I bake my bread. I also have a long, narrow china dish of hers that I always serve sliced homemade bread on. I think this is why I love baking bread so much. It's about the process, the memories, as well as eating the hot, crusty bread right out of the oven with a ton of cold butter. Oh yeah.

Today after thinking about Aunt Lou, Charlotte, etc., my mind naturally shifted to my Mom. She couldn't bake bread. In fact, she was a terrible cook and a worse baker! The only thing I ever remember her making well was a date nut cake and a 4 layer whip cream cake. Both pretty much no brainers! She could make fabulous head cheese though. Before you gag, we didn't really use head. We used pig hocks and hamburger and I loved it. That was the extent of her culinary talents though. I was chatting with my brother several months ago and he mentioned what a good cook Mom was. I looked at him and said 'who the hell raised you???' My brothers were 14 & 16 years old when I was born. Maybe Mom knew how to cook when they were young and forgot by the time I was born. I'm guessing it was just they were boys and would eat anything.

I figure I'm somewhere between Aunt Lou and my Mom when it comes to my cooking skills.

I'm smiling.
I've had a lovely walk in the past.
I can smell the dough and am anticipating the finished product.

The sun is out and it's cloudy too....guess the devil is just talking mean to his wife today.


Silverback said...

Lovely memories and lovely post.

Don't sell yourself short on your cooking skills though. You can open a ready meal packet and nuke it in the microwave better than anyone I know - except me.

But seriously folks, I can't wait till I get to florida and get LOTS of her excellent cooking. Healthy cooking of course.

Debby said...

Silverback, you have NEVER had a ready meal at my house that I prepared. I don't buy them, and I don't nuke food! Hrumph!

Healthy all the way this winter for sure! Maybe just the occasional DQ??????

Rosanna said...

There must be something about smell of warm bread and butter just invokes memories automatically. I tried to make it once and it didn't turn out.. Now my mom can make it but I don't think she has in years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, and Thank god for Bread Machines LOL!!!

Carlos said...

thanks for the delicious memories. now im starving