Thursday, January 31, 2008
Last week I was craving matrimonial cake. My mother used to make it, and it seemed such a nice winter treat. I'm trying to eat somewhat healthier, so I figure the dates and oatmeal are the way to go. Plus, anything with oatmeal in it is a comfort food in my book. I've only made this cake once, many years ago, and I'm not sure what recipe I used. My mom passed 23 years ago, so she's not here to ask. Still hurts. I put most of the grief away, but it's nudged when these questions come up.
Last week I picked up a package of dates and started digging through recipe books. Couldn't find the one my mom used, so I tried another. It just wasn't the same at all. (Of course, we ate it anyway.) So today I'm trying again. Still can't find my mom's recipe, so I'm using one from one of her old cookbooks. I don't think it's her recipe; this one has orange juice, grated orange rind, and lemon juice in the date filling, and I don't remember her using those ingredients.
Man, I wish scent could be transferred online; it smells heavenly in here.
My mother started teaching me caring skills when I was quite small. She would sit me up on the counter and we would make baking soda biscuits. I was so small, my feet didn't hang over the edge of the counter. Good times.
She taught me how to knit when I was about eight. I was underwhelmed. It was awkward and difficult. My hands would sweat and my stitches would get tighter and tighter--so tight I could no longer get the needle tip into them to form a new stitch. I received the stitch knowledge, but not her love of knitting. That caught up to me later...in a big way.
I did, however, inherit her love of good food. She was a marvelous cook because that was what women of her generation were supposed to be. I think sometimes about how different her options were. I'm glad women like her went before me because they had strength and convictions, and future generations stood on that strength and demanded more.
I'm so appreciative that she taught me these skills. I don't bake as much as she did, but I know enough about it to get that good old home-made taste when I want it.
And knitting is in my soul.
So tonight, as soon as that cake cools, I'll put down my knitting, and savour a slice.