Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I'm Making Waffles

I am a feeder. Ever since my family came along, I have discovered the joys of making something that someone else enjoys eating. It happened quite by chance when number one son was weaning. As a completely neurotic first time Mum, I simply had to make everything from scratch. I bought thousands of little plastic pots and ice cubes trays, so that I could make a healthy, nutritious batch of goo and have portions a plenty when the time came.

I bought Annabel Karmel, and my first grown up cookery book. I had others; Norge had even bought me Delia one Christmas. I didn't take offence, after all she was at University with me. She knew how hopeless I was in the kitchen (mushroom anyone). But this was an Italian cookery book. Simple pasta dishes, soups that sort of thing. I can remember thinking "garlic, that's good for you isn't it?" It had recipes for different kinds of sauces. One for every day of the week!

I couldn't believe how easy it was. I couldn't believe I was making fresh food for my baby. I couldn't believe that he ate it. With gusto. I had triumphed!! He didn't sleep though the night, wasn't even in his own bed. He didn't smile easily. He was prone to crying for long periods of time. But the food I had made, made him happy. He guzzled it down, and then came back for more. Husband liked it. He came back for more too.

It snowballed from there. I felt the joy of watching someone eat something that I had made. Why had no-one told me about this before? My Mum was a great home cook. She made hearty plain fare that my Dad loved. There was always pudding. Apple pie, rice pudding, steamed sponges with treacle or jam. Any occasion was an excuse to provide food. I can remember the dining room table groaning with amazing buffets. Her Christmas dinners were legendary, with special platters with which to pile the food on. Everyone came to Hall Street on Bonfire Night for the jacket potatoes, coleslaw, sausages, gateaux.

But for all this I don't remember taking an interest in the process that came before. The preparing, cooking and assembling of food which was then presented without fuss to us, her family, to be relished and enjoyed. She used to give us pastry to play with, but it always looked too grubby by the time I had finished with it, so I didn't want to go any further with it. Perhaps if I had I would have spooned a blob of jam on it and then hung around while it was baked, I would have felt the delight of making food much earlier.

Later on I branched out into baking - bread, pies, biscuits, cake. Especially cake. Everyone likes a piece of cake. A great slab of fruit cake, or a moist slice of sponge oozing with jam and buttercream. Fairy cakes, cupcakes, carrot cake..............

which brings me back to now. My boys love a curry and they love waffles. Again I have Norge to thank for the Waffle Iron. It seems an odd combination, but it never ceases to give me pleasure watching them tuck into something that I have made. Number one son shovels it in without pausing for breath. Number two son methodically eats the protein, then the carbs and finally the vegetables. Number three son watches his brothers and copies them, happy in the here and now of breaking bread with his siblings.

This is the stuff that makes me happy.

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