A mother’s kitchen

Baking with children stirs up priceless Christmas memories, writes columnist Ursula Maxwell-Lewis

A mother’s kitchen

This is what’s left of my first cook book. My mother has noted inside: “Ursula’s first Cook Book. Clarkson, Ontario. She was about 7, and spelt sugar ‘shooger’.”

I can imagine her chuckling at my phonetic spelling. Thankfully both my spelling, and cooking, improved.

Clearly the book was popular. It was first published in 1932, and republished in 1945.http://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wUrsula-sCookBook.jpg

Since all the ingredients would have still been rationed when we left Britain, it must have been a Canadian purchase.

On page 1, Rules for Little Cooks, instructs mini-chef to: Wash your hands. Put on your apron. Read your recipe carefully.

Correct table setting is emphasized. The closing instruction is: “Sweep the kitchen and leave it in order.”

Recipes include Fairy Gingerbread, Old King Cole Spinach, Circus Salad, and Penuche.

Measurements and implements are all clearly sketched to compensate for the cook’s limited reading skills.

***

Baking with children, particularly for holidays, stirs up priceless family memories.

My son, Derek, and youngest daughter, Hilary, are both good main course cooks. Helene, my eldest daughter, prefers baking with an eye for decorating.

Licking baking bowls, spoons, and Mixmaster beaters were talents honed early. Punching down newly risen bread dough was, I think, their favourite baking ‘job’.

To this day all three insist that Christmas Wife Saver is a tradition. Although all are now in their own Alberta homes, Christmas Eve will find each of them layering whipped eggs and cream, ham or bacon, bread and cheese in a baking pan.

On Christmas morning, while presents are being unwrapped, the scent of CWS baking will waft through their houses, just as it did when they were kids.

***

Tradition also meant trekking up to Cloverdale Baptist Church for the Christmas Eve Carol Service, which included real candles until the overflowing congregation posed an unholy fire hazard.

As the kids became teens I announced one December 24 that I would no longer harass anyone into attending the Carol Service. My son, voted most likely to cheer at such a reprieve, rendered me speechless by indignantly retorting, “Of course we’re going! It’s tradition!”

***

Another family tradition began when my youngest was about 8, and I was particularly broke. For $5 per person the Mormon Church was staging A Christmas Carol. I didn’t care how bad it was, we were going.

To my complete astonishment the production was excellent. The Three Little Lewises were entranced. From then on a Christmas play, or pantomime, was in the cards.

I count getting my 11-year-old jock to The Dancing Princess pantomime one snowy Christmas among my finest hours. Upon discovering he could boo the villains and cheer the good guys he forgave me and became the production’s biggest fan.

***

Every year Santa delivered a new board game. A tradition which has, I presume, given way to all players retreating nowadays to solitary cyber worlds. What a pity. Oddly enough, I recently delivered the old Pente game (the Greek strategy game, Five Smooth Stones) to its surprised, delighted, now 42-year-old owner.

***

My three-year-old granddaughter cooks with both her parents. I wonder if she needs a cookbook and an apron…

 

– Ursula Maxwell-Lewis is founding editor and publisher of the Cloverdale Reporter

 

 

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

Musician Dana Vande is seen in a screenshot from a music video on Youtube. Vande recently released a pro-lockdown track in response to an Eric Clapton and Van Morrison anti-lockdown track.
Cloverdale musician writes pandemic response song to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton

Dana Vande answers a Clapton-Morrison anti-lockdown track with a pro-lockdown track

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Cloverdale man said public pressure only convinces church goers they are right

Engageing churches in discussions on how to reduce transmission would be more effective than bans

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Delta Police dog retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Surrey RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera as seen in a cut-out used for the detachment’s Operation Double Take program. (File photo)
Surrey’s tall ‘Operation Double Take’ cop is on the move

Cut-out of Constable Mike Della-Paolera used in program to curb speeding and dangerous driving

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read