She wasn’t that bothered about food.
Nor was she keen on cooking.
Despite this, she is remembered fondly for her cooking, special dishes talked about still. She taught me how to love food and everything to be done with it.
Her mantra for providing a splendid hearth and home was good food, large fires, comfort and pleasant company. Dad provided the last, Mum being rather shy. But it was Mum who ran the home. She not only cooked, she decorated, painting and wallpapering even the stairwells, chose the colour schemes. She gardened and mixed cement for paths. On the food front she grew the fruit and vegetables we ate and early on kept the chickens that gave eggs for breakfast and baking as well as a treat of roast at the end of their lives.
As did my friends I learnt a great deal of my cooking skills just by watching, allowed to help, however badly.
Friends would come and stay for a few days and often ended up living at our home for longer than they expected. It was a place to go for a disinterested kind of care which soothed.
The food was a great part of it. And her willingness to experiment and try all the new dishes which flooded in to the UK after rationing was lifted. Snack suppers or dinner/lunch parties, nothing was beyond her.
Nothing fazed her. One Sunday when some of Dad’s business colleagues were due, the electricity failed before the meal was finished. A general power failure, no other means of cooking except… except, my friend also there that weekend had two small camping primus stoves in the boot of her car. Mum in her perfect hair and long skirt crouching over these primus on the kitchen floor, finishing her triumph of a meal for eight and bringing it to plated perfection is a sight which lingers, with a smile, in the memory banks.
Cooking was a casual affair, she never fussed or panicked as far as I remember. Food was food, a meal was a meal. As long as the attitude was good even cheese on toast was a feast. It was no wonder that I became a foodie, a foodie who preferred fresh cooked food. Her experimentation led me to glory in the cuisines I came across on my travels.
The bad was nearly always interesting, the good often unbelievably good.
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