Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Memories of Grandma
According to my friend, Anita, Chinese wisdom believes that if your stomach is happy then your head will be happy. It’s fitting then how I have so many memories of Grandma that relate to food.

I’m sure all who know Grandma, of course will remember her brownies; the recipe I could never master and always wondered if she didn’t leave out one of the ingredients when she gave me the list. My thoughts go beyond the brownie though.

There were her Mexican Wedding cookies that she’d make especially for me each Christmas. I would savour them, grudgingly sharing them when I had to, knowing that only Grandma could make them that good.

It was Grandma who taught me to make a perfect cup of tea. There are so many happy memories I have of sharing a cup of tea with Grandma, the hot steam of it swirling up out of the cup, enveloping us in a cozy, all’s right with the world comfort.

No one could make a roast beef dinner like Grandma and even once she stopped cooking big meals, she every now and again would make a date with me to come over for a roast beef dinner. A dinner that was magnificent with a roast that melted in your mouth. Put suet on top of the roast she instructed, or if suet wasn’t easily come by, bacon would do. Never put water in the pan – or your gravy won’t turn out. Turn the stove on and walk away – it’ll be fine, she’d reassure. About that gravy… I remember a sense of panic setting in the first time I realized it was up to me to make gravy for a dinner party that Grandma wasn’t at. To this day I still methodically, in my mind, go through each step that she taught me as we would stand at the stove together, teacher and student.

It was at one of her roast beef dinners that Jacques, Gwen and Nicholas learned about the wonders of desserts with “Your Name on Them”. After supper, Grandma brought out the ice cream and dished out bowlfuls for the kids. As they polished off not only one but two bowls of it she inquired if they’d like some more and of course they eagerly, but disbelievingly wanted to say yes. They couldn’t believe their luck! Grandma could see that they weren’t sure if they should have another bowl. It was while they were looking at me trying to gauge whether or not I would allow them to indulge in this incredible fortune that Grandma stepped in. She said, “Of course you can have another. It’s got your name on it.” The three were incredulous. “It has our name on it?” “We can have three bowls of ice cream at one meal?” While Nicholas, who was quite small puzzled over where his name must be written in the ice cream, Grandma explained that it meant that when they were at Grandma’s no one would be counting and that they could have as much as they wanted until they were full. I had to remind them several times afterwards that dessert only had your name on it at Great-Grandma’s house!

Not food related at all, however, the biggest thing I will miss about Grandma and will always remember fondly is “Grandma hugs”. A hug that could make all your troubles go away, make everything right in your world and make you realize that whatever it was that was bothering you, you knew with certainty that you could believe that “This to shall pass.”

I could do with one of those hugs now.


  1. I know what you mean, about the hug. I need one too but I need it from my Mom. Sadly she's not around to give it to me...ciao