Well, today I felt like doing something useful with my time, as I still have a very sore leg if I walk about too much. I decided to do some baking while my husband went for a nice long walk. Lucky bugger!
So, this Nanna got out her Nanna’s recipes for shortbread and marshmallow cake. It brought back memories of my Nanna and how we all loved her baking as kids. We moved to Rotorua when I was 5 and we maybe saw Nanna once a year, but when we came down to Christchurch we loved it. We especially loved Nanna’s baking. Everything she made was amazing. Now don’t get me wrong, my Mum was an Ace Baker too at the time, but there was something special about Nanna’s baking. She had this awesome cake tin that sat on her bench and it had pull out drawers. I remember when I was a teenager I flew down to Christchurch to see family. I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle and my Brother and his first wife were staying with Nanna.
On this particular day, I went round to see my Brother and Sister-in-law and of course Nanna. When I got there, Nanna was all ready to go and catch the bus to town, with her hat and coat on and of course her gloves. As she was about to go, she said, ‘there’s baking in the tin if you want some. Help yourselves!’
Well, we didn’t need telling twice. I think there were about four drawers and they were packed with delights. Shortbread, Christmas Mince Pies, Chocolate Marshmallow cake and Belgian biscuits filled with homemade raspberry jam and iced with hundreds and thousands on top. Before she had even left the property, my brother and I had piled up our plates with a bit of everything that was on offer!
I reminisced as I baked and I couldn’t help but smile at the memory. I don’t think I ever had the opportunity to bake with her as a child, but I remember so well the delicious things she would make.
When my Nanna was in the hospital and coming to the end of her life, we spent many hours up there sitting by her bedside. One day my Uncle had picked me up to take Mum and I up to the hospital. As he dropped us off after our visit, he handed me a folded up piece of paper and said, ‘we thought you would like this!’ It was Nanna’s chocolate marshmallow cake recipe. I was so touched to be given such a treasure at such a difficult time.
I am fortunate that I live in the same city as my grand-daughters. Unfortunately, my grandsons live in Wellington, so I don’t get to see as much of them. I think I still see more of all my grandchildren than we saw Nanna though. It is nice that my grandchildren have the opportunity, not just to have my recipes, but also to make them with me.
I hope that when I am no longer here to bake with them, that they will do what I did today and bake my recipes and just like it did for me today, I hope too that they smile at the memory of baking together. My grandsons are less accessible, but as they get older and come and stay, I will make sure that baking with Nanna is something I do with them too!
I think sometimes that we can undervalue the simple things we do with our grandchildren and children. I doubt they will remember the dress, or skateboard or bike or other gift they may get from us for Christmas, but what will stay in their memories is the gift of ourselves.
Time spent with those we love is the greatest gift of all.