Wednesday, December 9, 2009

mince pies


I spent last night making mince meat and mince pies. I should have made the mince meat weeks ago but a lack of brandy in the house meant it got deferred to the last possible moment. I prefer it to bought still anyway, even without maturation.


I have honed my mince pie making skills over the years, using my Grandmother's mince meat recipe (with vegetable suet instead of beef suet - there's too many conflicting religious and personal dietary requirements in my acquaintance to make them anything other than vegetarian) and my Mum's short-crust pastry, the way she taught me. Having both of their most used cookbooks out is a warm if slightly emotional feeling. Neither of them are with me anymore. As well as that it's Christmas, so all those associated family memories are at the surface.


The tools of baking are precious to. I always use the tart tin my Mum used to use to make me jam tarts on Sundays (which I ate with top-of-the-milk), because I didn't like apple pie when I was small...


... and my favourite mixing bowl, which was a Christmas present from Dan several years ago now, has also been incorporated into the ritual.


So after my spell of baking I read this post on Milkmoon about the Grandmother memory, so perhaps it's a seasonal thing. Doing things I know they did every year too, makes them feel a bit closer for a little while. These objects are some of the most precious things I own.

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