Stay connected with family 'Greats' through food
Beth from BabyMac shares how she stays connected to the Greats in her family through food.
I come from a big family (got to love those Catholics) filled with lots of cousins, Aunties and Uncles on both sides. Growing up, the one way we would always catch up with extended family was through food.
Huge family gatherings of over 40 people in our home – kids running around, Aunties drinking too much, arguments over this or that, Uncles carving meat and lines of people, plates in hand waiting over groaning tables of food.
To me, preparing a meal for people has always been an act of love and with my family that means lots of food and LOTS of love.
I’ve since lost all my grandparents and a few other family members along the way, but the way I still feel close to them, and their legacies, is through food.
I can pull out a hand written recipe that my Nanna wrote, use a cake tin that my Grandmother had, plate up a meal on a platter belonging to a great Aunt and feel connected to them once more.
I can instantly remember the smell of those roast vegetables bubbling away in my Grandmother’s electric frypan and recall the taste of that creamy rice pudding my Nanna made for us in those blue and white bowls.
Food can create such lasting memories: through sounds, smell, taste and vision. I love that I can bring people right back to my kitchen just by preparing something from the past.
While I may have lost some Greats from my life, my girls have plenty of amazing family around them to learn from, and I’m passionate about making memories with these people, so that one day they can look back fondly and remember them.
It’s funny isn’t it, how when you are younger, the older people in your family can just be that: annoying old people. And yet the older WE get, the more important these people become to us; with rich histories and stories that make up a part of who WE are.
At every given chance I am always pestering my Mum to show me how to do the things that she knows off by heart; a simple recipe for jam, or scones, getting her to show me the shortcuts that won’t be written in the recipe. Relishing in the memories and getting the girls involved too if they can.
Since we moved to the country I have been lucky to be surrounded by a whole range of amazing women who have taught me about food as well through the Country Women’s Association (CWA). They’ve shown me how to make classic cakes, worthy of the local show, slices for a village morning tea, a chicken ribbon sandwich that is perfect for afternoon tea and a multitude of dinner party tricks; I am learning from the Greats here…and it’s so important to pass this stuff on.
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Whilst times may change, technologies advance and some things cease to exist, a good recipe for a jam drop biscuit, a Christmas cake with a cup of tea or that first bite of a scone with jam and cream (that ends up on the tip of your nose) is as precious as the Great people in your life.
Long may we celebrate them both!