Saturday, September 25, 2010

Funeral Food

My poor old Nanna Z lost her battle against old age and a raft of illnesses this week, and was farewelled at a small and simple country funeral yesterday.  Being a flower freak, she would have loved the floral arrangements adorning every spare surface.  As for the food ... while I can imagine her salivating over the range of delicious rustic looking home made cakes and slices; she would certainly have had some "constructive feedback" for the well intentioned caterers.

She was very creative but an absolute perfectionist as well; resulting in her producing some pretty spectacular craft work over the years, including watercolour paintings, flower arrangements, and a visually stunning garden.  But the thing Nanna Z was best admired for was her was her baking.

A perfectionist to a fault, she would have made a fantastic pastry-chef.  Things that I still struggle with after years of practice - spongecake, eclairs, scones, blinis - she would whip up one handed in a matter of seconds, without ever referring to a recipe.  Once I asked her "how do you make your scones rise so high?"  She responded, without batting an eye, "don't bugger around with them too much".  Another oddly fond - if somewhat confusing - memory, was when she grabbed some exposed skin where my jumper had crept up over my jeans, accused me of putting on too much weight, at the same time serving me up a huge plate of jam drops to have with my tea.

She was your quintessential ex-C.W.A. queen, a no-nonsense, frugal, post-war, straight-talking, teetotaling, grey-haired pocket rocket.  Always confrontational, never boring, at times highly entertaining (even if it was occasionally at her expense).  She would bring me to tears of frustration and anger many times - I once went through a period of not speaking to her for almost a year, after a particularly fraught Christmas lunch.  She could be abrupt and rude, controlling, and downright mean.  But that was Nanna.  My mother's mother.  She taught me how to bake, and bake well.  

4 comments:

Just Cake girl said...

Sorry for your Nanna....

I have ti say i also have problems with pasty - they come oke, but not perfect like the are supposed to be ....

DONNA said...

Hey there! Sorry about your Nanna again - totally know how it feels as mine passed away earlier this year. I managed to get my hands on a couple of her old recipe books and have the copy of the PWMU Cookery Book which she gave me years ago and I use constantly! My Nanna Joan also loved flowers and would always show us any flowers she had in her house whether they were from her garden or from someone as a gift! She made her own Cherry Plum Jam - delicious and something I will be making myself someday soon hopefully! Hope all is well and that you are taking comfort in the lovely memories you have! Dx

K_Bom said...

Thanks guys. It's left me feeling all whimsical this weekend, not necessarily a bad thing. :-)

RenaeJ said...

I love that in death we can acknowledge their faults but admire their strengths and talents, and in the end all that is left is love. I'm smiling at a memory of a beautiful summers day, Nanna Z and a bottle of 15+ sunscreen she was very happy to find whilst shopping. Julie and I covered head to toe in that 15+ sunscreen which was not rubbed in as Nanna Z was convinced it didn't work if you rubbed it in. If we dared to attempt to rub in that sunscreen we would receive a sharp burst insisting we stop touching it. I remember the sympathetic glance your grandfather gave Julz and I as he walked two small girls who resembled albino pygmies on to the beach. :) Rest peacefully Nanna Z