In the big scheme of life, making items that are useful, beautiful and stitched/knitted/crocheted/painted or cooked with love to display, eat or use within your home is a most treasured and productive pastime.
As I mentioned recently, not having anything that belonged to my mother (or my Nana) is a loss to my heart, so filling our home with simple, decorative and practical pretties here and there means my own children will one day have a variety of joyously handmade-by-mum things to use or hold dear, items which can later be passed along to their own children.
Even recipes can become transferable with each generation when it's something they love made over and over, food that fills their hearts with comfort and warm memories.
That's why I never tire of trimming sweet kitchen towels, sewing cushion covers and table runners, making jam, bread, scones and curries.
Growing up (and even as an adult when she comes to visit) my daughter Aisha would beg me to bake Blackberry Swirls for dessert, and today as a mother of three she bakes this for her own children. Even more precious, just as Aisha has memories of us making this recipe together, she taught her eldest daughter, Ebony, to bake this as well and now the two of them have treasured memories of baking Blackberry Swirls.
A recipe which began in my kitchen thirty years ago is now being made by a third generation of my family and as it's one of Ebony's favourites too I'm sure it will one day pass to the fourth generation.
That's something I am very grateful for, recipes which are handed down. Though I have no actual items to hold from my Nana I do make some of her desserts.
Nana was the queen of custards and as it was the only dessert she made she did have a few variations - plain baked custard, baked rice custard, baked bread & butter custard, and banana custard smothered in nutmeg. Every one of them delicious, every one a memory I can taste and smell to this day.
A few years back I shared her baked rice custard recipe and if you'd like to try it the recipe is here.
I would love to have had some of her hand written recipes but the truth is, she had none. Everything she made us was basic, simple, delicious, and her recipe book was written inside her heart.
In fact there was not one cookbook in her kitchen, not one magazine snipped recipe...her basic menu ran about 14 days with little variation and I remember them all, with a longing to sit once again at her kitchen table and feast on love in a bowl.
I wonder if we put ourselves under too much pressure to try many different recipes and cuisines, today? That thought has lingered for many months in my head as I recount a friend's experience with a salad.
My friend had invited a work colleague over for coffee and their conversation lingered over to lunchtime so my friend asked her guest if she'd like to stay for lunch. The guest accepted and my friend made a Caesar salad for the two of them.
During the meal this guest began to critique the salad, judging it on this and that as she ate.
My friend, who had generously made a lovely meal for the lady, put down her fork and said, "This is not MasterChef and I have not prepared a meal for you to judge, just a simple lunch for a friend. I'm just a home cook, you know."
I keep this in mind because I too am a home cook, a simple home cook, yet I have dabbled with many a recipe which had numerous and expensive ingredients (that I would not use again) and which my husband did not enjoy.
You see I do watch cooking programs, many of them, and my cookbooks number heavily in the bookshelf, triggering this sense that I should be trying more new things, recreating meals which television chefs and home-cook contestants rave about...but why??
The meals I remember through my life were simple, lovingly made, only a few ingredients, and delicious. That's not to say the odd special dinner cannot be prepared and (hopefully) enjoyed, but all the time?
The meals my children remembered from their childhood were all simple, and I have a lot of children.
Just something to think about, you know?
Ask your loved ones what is a favourite meal or dessert you have made for them. It may surprise you in it's simplicity, or it may be something very complicated and time consuming and you'll wish you'd never listened to me and asked them!
Whatever the answer I'd love to know too, so write it in the comments.
Well, that's enough from me today. I've scrubbed my sewing room from top to bottom (and got sidetracked making tea towel gifts) cleaned places here and there and caught up on some new design work, which left me rather a limp soul by the time Mr E arrived home.
Bless his heart he took me out for dinner, which was a surprise and a joy because the only dinners we eat are the ones I cook and sometimes you just long for someone else to make you a meal.
Have a lovely evening or morning, wherever you are on this beautiful blue marble we call planet Earth.