This year we decided that we would take the Easter Sunday lunch over to Mum and Dad’s. Plans were drafted, and reams of cookery books and Google searches navigated us to the bosomy cleavage of Nigella Lawson and her herbed leg of lamb. The main course would be dealt with by T – a safe and sensible pair or hands, and I would deliver an appropriate pud. As the only thing I can confidently make is a pavlova, no searching was required.
Trying to cook in someone else’s kitchen is always a bit strange. Mum has a peculiar mash-up of aged utensils, mismatched saucepans and lids and spoons which look like Uri Geller has had a go on before sorting out Brexit. It makes me laugh but frustrating for T, especially when he thought he’d have to drain the sprouting broccoli through a tea-strainer.
Needing to whip up the gallon of double cream for the pavlova (I have the opposite of dairy intolerance) Mum delved into the cupboard and pulled out her trusty Kenwood food mixer. There it stood, nearly 40 years old and still in perfect working condition. Will Smith could not have put it any better than in the classic tune which is Summertime:
And as I think back makes me wonder how
The smell from a grill* could spark up nostalgia
*Obviously, replace the word grill for Kenwood mixer.
I was instantly transported back to times when I was baking with Mum in our kitchen, pivoting on a stool (me, not my Mum), and blitzing our way through the Be-Ro baking book. I have yet to find a better chocolate cake recipe and, believe me, I’ve tried. And if you’ve never had a butter tartlet….. well, they will change your life for the better.
The best chats I had were with Mum in the kitchen, me making a mess and Mum cleaning it up. It didn’t really matter what we made. It was the late 70s early 80s, so mostly everything was fortified with some sort of chemical or stabiliser. Different times.
I have my own Kenwood mixer. Same design but different colour. I wonder if S and E will ever remember baking together. It mostly involves making cupcakes and adding various food colourings. Once the mixing bit’s over and both kids have inserted their heads in the mixing bowl, and they’ve licked the beaters to a new shade of stainless steel, they tend to lose interest. I have been left to power hose the kitchen floor and wonder how long I should wait before I repaint the kitchen ceiling.
I often wonder what the kids will remember us by, but I can guarantee it won’t be anything ‘big’, but something mundane and normal. Mum’s beige dinners and Dad’s eye rolls probably.
I’ll keep hold of the Kenwood, just in case.