Thought for the Week

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THE GREENHOUSE had been cleared and the last of the tomatoes picked. I could deal with the red tomatoes but what was I to do with the green ones? Flash of inspiration - I’ll make green tomato chutney! Now somewhere in my memory I could recall a recipe for this so I fished out my mother’s recipe book. You know the sort of book that was common ages ago with recipes written in and cuttings from papers stuck in.

There on the first page was a recipe for Green Tomato Chutney written in spidery writing and stuck in with yellowing Sellotape. That looked fine but I leafed through the book to discover the same recipe written in my mother’s handwriting but headed “Mamma’s Green Tomato Chutney”. Mum called her parents Mamma and Papa and that spidery writing belonged to my Grandma! She was 80 years old when I was born and died when I was 12 so I don’t think I’d ever seen her handwriting. The happy memories of her came flooding back.

As the chutney was cooking I leafed through the other recipes in this book and found plenty written by my darling mother together with lots added in by other members of the family - aunts, cousins and friends. Mum had been given this book when she and Dad got married in 1934 and ladies of the family had added their favourite recipes over the years. What a joy it was to read their recipes but as I did I was so excited to relive many memories of happy times with these people. Like Mum’s sister Jeannie and my amazement when she whisked up egg whites on a flat plate using only a fork! Her lemon meringue pie was delicious! Auntie Lydia who made pancakes (dropped scones) for us in funny shapes - a snowman, ie. a large round with a smaller round attached, was her favourite. I remember asking her to make me a cat-shaped pancake. No bother - to the basic snowman shape she artistically drizzled batter to make ears, a tail and even whiskers! Boy did it taste good!

And oh, joy of joys to find a recipe for Mum’s steamed pudding! When I was a child I got to pick what Mum cooked on my birthday I always chose her steamed pudding which I thought was the best thing on the planet. Isn’t it amazing how a few lines jotted down in a book can give such pleasure? It made me realise just how blessed I have been with the family who have inspired, influenced and moulded me into the person I am today.

In this world of seemingly endless tales of negativity - please take time to stop and reflect on the positive things in your life. Mum used to sing “Count Your Blessings” and I certainly did after reading her recipe book - and I gave thanks for those recipe writers and their blessings.

The chutney is delicious, by the way ...

Kathleen Strachan

Old & St Andrew’s Church