Sunday, November 27, 2011

A First Pause in Advent 2011

It's Advent! The countdown to Christmas has begun.I'm really looking forward to reading the posts of all those who are taking part in the Pause - we're taking a weekly break from the flurry of preparations to rest for a while and share something -anything - about what Christmas is really about for us. You'll find the list of those taking part in the sidebar to your left. Feel free to join in - mention it in your comment here! We could be talking about traditions, family, food, beliefs, ponderings, children... whatever. My first contribution for you is certainly about traditions, food and family! I decided to bake all my Christmas goodies while I was in Edinburgh with my dad at the end of October. We're going to spend Christmas with him, arriving early on Christmas Eve, so preparing while I was there made a lot more sense than transporting food on the aeroplane or having a last-minute panic when I arrive! Cooking in my mum's kitchen, using my grandma's 150-year old recipe and equipment (she was the baker in our family - she taught me) was quite an experience. And as I have a terrible memory and don't keep a hold on these experiences in any meaningful way, I wrote a poem as a 'snapshot' of what was going on in the kitchen that afternoon.





Cooking in the kitchen of my ancestresses

The third-biggest bowl is too small to stir the overflowing contents:
Nothing for it but to plunge in the hands!
Still-warm mashed potato cushions my questing fingers,
Chill-damp grated carrot a shocking contrast.
Clouds of nutmeg and cinnamon rise from the disturbed mass:
Preparing for Christmas in the kitchen of my ancestresses.

A recipe in my grandmother’s hand-
Remember Grandma, with her white curls full of flour?
Battered bronze scales of Grandma’s force a return to pounds and ounces
For my finally metric soul.
Breadcrumbs whizz in my mother’s food processor –
Remember when the first blade was accidentally thrown out with the rubbish?
One angry mother -
Though she saw the funny side later.

A hunt for a satisfactory pudding bowl.
Eighties Tupperware won’t do.
In the back of the corner cupboard, a metal bowl dated 1975...

Cooking in the kitchen of my ancestresses,
Preparing Christmas for those who remain.

25 comments:

Betty said...

How lovely Floss that you have kept your Grandmothers recipe going and that it is central to your family Christmas, that's really special. The story behind your poem conjured up visions of your grandma with floury hair and I could picture the moment. Looking forward to visiting everyones posts each week, I am trying to do less this year as a lot of stress in real life but would like to post on the last week. Bettyx

Angela said...

Oh that is a fabulous poem Floss - redolent of Christmas scents and tastes- and rich in memory - like the best fruit cakes.

Advent blessings on you and yours - thanks again for facilitating this moment of reflection for us. x

VintageVicki said...

Lovely first post :) Can't believe a year has passed already - doesn't seem 12 months since we were doing this last.

Fat Dormouse said...

Ooh, I thought I'd left you a message...maybe not. I think I'd like (a bit belatedly) to join in the Pause In Advent. Can you add me to your list, please. I shall read people's offerings after lunch (which I can smell burning! I'd better go!!!)

Pomona said...

She comes puffing and panting along in the rear and says 'Can I join in as well please?' Will be posting shortly - enjoyed reading your post too.

Pomona x

Fat Dormouse said...

Lunch was lovely - cheesy, croissanty rolls and baked beans - and they weren't burned!

I enjoyed reading your post. One of the things I enjoy about Christmas (and Advent too) are the links we have to the past: family recipes, well loved decorations, traditions and memories. How lovely to share these with friends across the world. Thank you for this.

Frances said...

Your poem captures so many aspects of Christmas preparation and the joy of continuing happy traditions, with certain contemporary touches. That food processor!

Best wishes on this first Advent Sunday.

Pom Pom said...

HI Floss! I like your poem. There certainly aren't enough old kitchens these days. I fault HGTV! I may have to ponder an invented Christmas pudding, not really candied fruit or nuts, but something beautiful and traditional. Thank you for the pause, friend.

Pomona said...

Just to say that I have done my post now, and put your link on my blog. So I'd love to join the list at the top. Hope you have had a peaceful Sunday.

Pomona x

Sheila said...

I love your first post, can't wait for the others. Ive done mine, but i cant believe that its been a whole year since last time.
x

Sue said...

So glad you are organising this again. How organised you were and I bet you will be really glad now. Being able to cook using your Mother and Grandmother's equipment must bring extra special memories and how lovely to capture it in prose. Our Christmas pudding has been steaming all day (I know we are a week late) but the making of it and all having a stir and making a wish is a tradition from our childhood and hopefully one our children will continue. It is always a time for remembering Grandma who insisted the pudding was steamed for at least 12 hours when it was made. For my son's girlfriend it was her first ever time though and had to explained to her.

TheMadHouse said...

What wonderful images your words conger up. I am having such a hard time at the moment. I am so conflicted about Christmas and I am missing my mum desperately.

I am hoping that advent this year allows to to focus on each day and live in the present and remember all the things I am thankful for, so will be taking part each week. If you will have me.

I do read all the time Floss, just do not comment so often

said...

reading your pause in advent posts has become a much loved christmas tradition for me now.
your poem is lovely and reminds me of my granny too. that christmas pud looks scrumptious. i've been lazy this year and ordered mine from riverford, i haven't tried one of theirs before and am hoping it will be ok.

warmest wishes xxx

sumea

Lalabibaby @ Dreaming of The Simple Life said...

I am so looking foward to reading all these posts again Floss .... Thanks for organisng x

magsmcc said...

Photos and words alike are beautiful! Also nice to travel not just to family and home, but also ready-made feast! Makes your journey to Bethlehem jolly and warm!

Carolyn Phillips said...

Such evocative images.

Have spent this evening 'pausing', reading through the blogs and seeing the bigger themes of calmness, simplicity, thoughtfulness and thankfulness emerging. A good way to spend the evening. Thank you.

E. Charlotte said...

Oh I love your poem! It's beautiful! It paints a warm, inviting picture. :)

Kit said...

Oh what a lovely poem and I can visualize the whole wonderful process. That is a great tradition! Kit

Lorrie said...

Christmas is certainly a time when memories of those who have gone on before come so clearly to mind. I love the continuum you present of cooking the same recipes with the same equipment over generations.

Kaye - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

What a lovely way to share your sweet family memories. And what a delightful way to celebrate the beginning of Advent. Thanks for a lovely visit. I have my post up at SandwichINK.com :) Have a blessed week.

Jorgelina said...

Wonderful images .
I love your poem!
Hugs

Serenata said...

Wonderful Floss, what a brilliant idea, and a super post, so glad to hear you are spending Christmas with your Dad.

polkadotpeticoat said...

I love Advent......what a reason to celebrate!

Dame Judi said...

All so very special. Such a witty, yet sweet memory. I hope in years to come my grandchildren will have the same pleasant memories. Something to ponder....

Mommy en France said...

What a lovely post and poem. All the best for Advent!