Memories of my Granny's Kitchen

Now I know what you are thinking. This is going to be a sickly sweet post about how my Granny could out-cook any other Granny. A post redolent with memories of the smell of baking, of apple pies and still warm biscuits to bring a wistful smile to your face.

Sadly not.

My memories of my paternal Granny's cooking involves a more intense, almost visceral gag response as there was many a time I wandered into her kitchen only to be assaulted by the smell of offal bubbling away on her cooker.

Grandad was a fan of pigs trotters and tripe and no doubt many other animal products that nowadays are either consigned to the butcher's waste bin or the menu of very exclusive restaurants.

I can vividly recall not only the smell of bubbling tripe but the sight of the scum accumulating on the top of the water. Bleugh.

Luckily Grandad was never keen to share his tea so I never had the horror of actually eating any of the simmering stovetop horrors.

Mostly we begged to make toast at Granny's as she had an ancient twisted wire toasting fork which we loved to hold up to the flames as the bread browned, ready to top with lashings of butter and marmalade.

Ahhh. That sounds lovely doesn't it? You can just imagine a crackling log fire with children in gingham pyjamas crouched before it making a lovely toasty breakfast.

Actually, Granny had a gas fire complete with mock wood surround but let me tell you, to this day I have never had toast as good as the stuff I made with my cousins in front of that fire.

Occasionally Granny would have us round for tea which invariably involved ham and cake and slices of apple. On one occasion I remember her serving potatoes with "a nice bit of ham." Granny leaned over my shoulder and, way ahead of her time, crushed the potatoes roughly with a fork and added a generous lump of butter. They were probably the best potatoes I have ever eaten.

In the 70's, the decade when many women were embracing calorie counting and fad diets my Granny stuck to her guns and used mounds of luxurious ingredients to make treats for her family.

She was not keen on sticking to recipes and in the belief that more is more she would bung in extra butter and sugar and threw handfuls of juicy sultanas into her fairy cake batter. (We didn't have cupcakes back then, only fairy cakes.)

The sultanas promptly sank to the bottom more often than not but her cakes still managed to rise heroically despite the lack of any application of culinary science, and they never lasted long as we wolfed them down fresh from the oven.

My favourite treat from Granny's kitchen however was pancakes. I think that's why I'm writing this now as cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday always reminds me of my Granny.

I never remember her refusing to make us pancakes if we asked. She would just whip up a batch in a jug mixing with a fork, measuring nothing but never forgetting her signature sultanas. Over the years she cooked endless thick, stodgy, lumpy pancakes which in my book beat those wafer thin crepe style jobs hands down.

We lost Granny years ago before I had had most of my children. I know she would have loved being a great granny to such a crowd.  Maybe I'll make them some Granny style pancakes to show them what they have missed out on. And if they don't like them I can eat them all myself!

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