Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Eileen Elsie Agnes Shaw
Our nana made perfect pastry. It was light and flaky with just the right amount of salt, and when you bit into one of her pies, it was impossible not to sigh. She died 11 years ago today, well before her time. The recipe died with her, as well as a little piece of anyone who had ever tasted that apple pie.
The last thing she baked before she died was her chocolate cake. She knew she'd had a stroke because the cake that was always perfect came out wrong. I came into the kitchen on that awful day and saw her looking at the cake and shaking her head because she knew it wasn't right, and as a nurse, she must have know the reason why.
It has taken a long time to be able to talk about this. My sister and I were there together on that day. She was only 14 and I was 25. I was the big sister, but I felt like a child when I saw my nana like that. I think we've been traumatized ever since.
What we want is for this blog to put away those awful memories of my nana's last months and celebrate everything that she was before, and all that she has passed down to us--me, my sister, my mother, my aunt, my cousins. She was the best nana; the most talented baker; a trained seamstress and tailor; an amazing story teller; a perfect ironer, folder and hooverer (non of which I inherited, but Tiffany has); a nurse, and a gardener with the greenest thumbs I've ever seen. More than anything though, she was a keeper of her home and her family in the purest sense of the word keeper.
In order to celebrate her, we want to cook, bake and explore her recipes and our family recipes, as well as some new ones of our own. We want to figure out what it means for us to cook British food in Los Angeles, to be mothers and wives and keepers of a home, and hope that a little bit of the magic she gave to our mother and our aunt will continue to come to us as we start this journey.
Posted by Miranda Taylor at 11:45 AM