Friday, 23 December 2011
Melting Moments provoked nostalgia
Last week I made these with my little boy. He'd been asked to take in some biscuits at short notice. 'I think normal people just have packets of biscuits and crisps in their cupboards all the time' he told me, when I broke it to him that we didn't have any. I wonder who these normal people are and what it's like to be one of them: I want to see inside their cupboards (actually, I have. I think by my little boy's definition this would make own mother entirely normal, for she is prepared for any eventuality on the biscuit front). In the absence of normality in our own pantry, we decided to bake and a tub of glace cherries was our inspiration.
The moment I saw them for some reason I was transported straight back to arriving at my grandmother's house. When we were small she lived alone in a little row of terraced houses beneath the care of an enormous church whose bells chimed every quarter of an hour, even through the night. As we neared the end of our four hour car journey and drew closer to her house my insides would feel like they had butterflies in them as I imagined actually seeing her and being in her lovely little house which smelt of baking, furniture polish and grandmotherly goodness. I genuinely believe that she had butterflies too, because no matter how delayed our arrival was, as soon as our car pulled into her street, her front door would fly open and she would dance up and down in one of the half-pinnies from her huge collection and the moment our car doors were open she would gather me and my sister up and say over and over: hello my little poppets, hello my treasures, in her high-pitched, squeaky voice. And once inside, I knew that cooling on the baking rack there would be Melting Moments with glace cherries on top along with Crunch or Sog (her name for flapjack).
I must have made Melting Moments with her several times, for when my little boy had pressed them onto the baking tray and topped them with cherries, my chest felt tight with how deliciously familiar they looked, even in their unbaked state. We didn't make these using my grandmother's recipe, but found one on the internet as we were hurrying. I must ask her for a copy of her own recipe at Christmas. She no longer bakes, which makes me feel rather sad as for so long it defined her, but she does revert into that lively ball of wonderfulness the moment she's around my children and I can tell that my little boy feels the same way that I did as a child whenever he sees her.
Anyway, the cushion in these photographs is for her, made the day after the Melting Moments on the last day of the school term. I loved picking out the fabrics for it and piecing them together as I sorted through old memories of midnight feasts, playing horses on her Chesterfield, daubing talcum powder from a huge powder puff (deliciously exciting because we didn't have talcum powder at home) and snuggling to either side of her to listen to stories told from her head and then later, because we were essentially tasteless and she indulged this with wild abandon, racing to the television after bath time to watch Dallas and Dynasty by her side.
Wishing you the merriest of Christmases,