Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sacred Sunday ... Baking with Grams

There are many things to me that are sacred, most relate to my childhood, at a time when I felt safe, complete and greatly loved. Before I knew what paying bills was all about, or the sadness caused by death and great loss, and long before my first broken heart, I was carefree, when the only disappointment was sleeping in too late on a Saturday morning and missing a Scooby doo episode.

This is the period in my life that shaped the man I am today, the good and bad. Time spent with my Mother and Grandmother, sacred time, memories that I cherish because they are all I have left. Time is cruel, only moving forward, never letting us revisit the past, like an hourglass glued to the table.

We had my Uncles 65th birthday yesterday, a family reunion, at my Aunt and Uncles farm in the Country, it felt incomplete. The family; separated by death, divorce and feuding. My grandmother was the glue, the matriarch of our family, the one who organized Christmas', birthdays and picked me up that one time I ran away from home. When my grandmother took ill the responsibility naturally passed to my mother, only a daughter-in-law, but too my grams so much more. Since my moms passing two years ago I've tried my best to fill the gaps left behind. Planning family dinners, quilting blankets for the baby, working in the flower beds, doing my best to honor them both everyday, in the traditions in which they raised me. I miss them terribly.

I was always taught to be a grateful guest and never arrive empty handed. My Aunt was having the celebration catered, but my sister and I told her that we would also bring some deserts as well. My younger sister Leslie baked 50 'butter tarts', one of Grams most favourite recipes. I spent Saturday morning baking as well and made 6 pies; 2 Graham Wafer, 2 Field Berry, and 2 Lemon Meringue. I have my Grandmothers crystal flour, sugar and tea canisters, and her talent for pastry. When I bake I feel her in the room with me, often catching a whiff of her "Explanation" perfume.

Here are some pictures from my morning of baking:

Getting the Dough Ready for the Pie Crusts

Lining the Bake Pans with the Dough

Field Berry (Bumble Berry Pie) Filled with Strawberries, Raspberries
Blackberries, Blueberries and Rhubarb.

The Meringue Pies Browning up in the Oven

The Thin Coat of Flour on my Kitchen Floor!
Yes, I am a messy baker ;)

The pies were a hit and my uncles said they tasted just like my Grandmothers. In no time at all the butter tarts and pies were gone, leaving some of the birthday cake untouched. I felt honored to carry on one of my Grandmothers traditions. I am thankful for my Aunt who planned the occasion, its hard to get together these days.

My Great Aunts came too. It was hard, they look so much like my Grandmother, and sound just like her too. I found myself closing my eyes while they spoke, pretending I was listening to my Grams, seeing her face in my mind. Tears that somehow found their way past my tightly closed eyelids were quickly brushed away and went unnoticed. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Now for me, I better get back to scrubbing the dried pastry and flour off the kitchen floor, I've had the floor damp now for a good hour so it shouldn't be too difficult, I hope!

Embracing the Journey, and a bucket of suds.


mrsb said...

What beautiful pies! I stink at pastries, lol!

Love the pictures!

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

well done for continuing much loved traditions :) they look so good! and what a great way to remember and honour your grams and mother.

Jen said...

You must dish on how you get your pie pastry so perfect! I made Quiche last night and always have to do some serious mending once the pastry is in the plate. I need a serious tutorial. I was thinking about seeing if there are some on youtube or something. I'm sure your mom and grams are so proud of how wonderful you are!

Dia said...

Brett - what a great story - I can almost smell my mama's pies baking! My son Josh has inherited her talent for cooking, like you!

When Josh was about 9, a close family friend, Pete, died, & Josh told his grandma (my mother-in law) "Well, I guess I'll have to make the mashed potoatoes (for holidays), I'm probably the only one who knows how!" He'd always been Pete's 'go-for' boy, & run for the butter, the tinned milk, the pepper grinder.
Bless her heart, Grandma Dordy had the grace to say "Yes, you probably are, & that would be nice!" tee hee!

He has also taken up Dutch Oven cooking, & makes the most amazing things, inc upside down cakes, in the coals!

CrystalChick said...

That was such a lovely post. It got me thinking back on a few memories of days past.
Your day of pie making and sharing with family must have been very nice.
Next time you're baking, send me some Snickerdoodles or Pizelles to remind me of a couple wonderful Aunts. You'de probably get closer to the recipes than I ever will.

Have a nice day. :)

Anonymous said...

Those pies looks so yummy and wow! What excellent pics!
So awesome that you and your family carry on these traditions...I think the good and happy memories are the best thing anyone can leave us when they pass.

Pam said...

Oh yum!!! So much fun, the pictures of the process.I can imagine how you miss your loved ones; we honour those we love by remembering them.Very occasionally I see a stranger that reminds me of my grandmother and I am tempted to linger for just that minute longer. I think how difficult it must be when others experience the same thing ie loss of a child or mother, so I understand.You certainly have a gift for baking Bret!It must have bought joy to others that day. Thanks for your visit and comment.In regard to that, my musical abilities are getting very rusty!

Why Mom Drinks Rum said...

Thanks for the comment love! And Awwwhhhh, I love your post. That is so sweet.

And totally didn't help this insane sweet tooth that showed up this morning.

If I was not stuck in flipping cow-country I'd demand pies from you in person (hmmm, my bestie moved to Ottawa....maybe I can work pie demands into my next trip out)

You know, I couldn't even watch that video I posted the whole way through. Looking at their eyes broke my heart.

Ayre said...

Mmmmmm....piiiiiiiiie. We should have pie. Together. At the same place. At a place we would be at together at the same time. With pie. And maybe tea. :)

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

It's refreshing to hear that some people still honor their elders and traditions. I love to hear of the connection you had with your grandmother and mom. Although they're no longer here, you were luckier than most to have such special people in your life, especially in childhood. I love your posts, thanks for sharing :)~ER~

Anonymous said...

time for a new post?

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