Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mother's Day - A food Memory

In England, it is Mother's Day today. If I was still a child, living at home with my parents in Bristol, this morning my sister and I would have woken up quietly and early. We would have crept to the kitchen and pulled out a large tray from the cupboard. We would have made coffee, cereal, toast (with marmite of course) and set them on the tray. We would have taken a bunch of fresias, my mother's favourite flowers and set them next to the breakfast. Maybe a box of chocolates, too. Then, whispering, and trying to stay quiet whilst not doing a very good job of it, we would have carried the laden tray up two flights of stairs, opened her bedroom door, and would have exclaimed "Surprise, breakfast in bed", to wish her a Happy Mothers Day.

This picture taken yesterday at San Francisco's Ferry BuildingFarmers Market.

According to my research, Mothering Sunday was a tradition that began in England in the 1600s to celebrate mothers. The church at that time also took the opportunity to celebrate "the mother church" and the two became mingled into one celebration. Mothering Sunday takes place 3 Sundays before Easter.

When I was young, my mother sent me to Sunday School. When I was about eleven, our Sunday School Teacher arranged a special Saturday trip for us to do something a little bit extra special. First of all we went on a walk in the Bluebell woods to pick primroses. This memory actually horrifies me. Primroses are nearly extinct in Britain. If I found one, these days, I would be thankful to have the opportunity just to see one in its natural habitat, I would certainly never pick it.
After that, we went to the teachers house and made cakes. I particularly remember these cakes because she had funny cake tins that were sized somewhere between large and individual sized. We didn't make a Victoria Sandwich as I was used to, just a solid mini cake with no filling. We decorated the cakes with blue water icing. I was amazed, I'd never seen blue colouring before. The little cakes were the colour of a clear sky. We decorated them further with little iced flowers. I remember thinking how beautiful it was. Even back then, this experience seemed somewhat old-fashioned to me. Romantically old-fashioned. All my memories of picking wild flowers are from my earliest years. After that I think we'd picked them all, or houses had been built where the woods once stood.

This year, I tried to send my mother a bunch of flowers via the internet. I failed, after having computer problems both at work and home and with the site I was trying to use, at the time I needed to send the flowers. Then, I thought, maybe a better gift would be to share these memories with her. It can be so hard being so far away from someone you love. After a while it gets tiresome that you just can't pop by and spend the day with your mother, take her out to lunch or talk to her without the sound of the Atlantic Ocean cracking in your ears.

So, this is a Happy Mothers Day internet telegram to wish to my mother, Christine, her mother Naomi (hello granny), both in Bristol, and my sister Beccy, also a mother, near Dublin in Ireland, the happiest of Mothers Days. My love and thoughts are with you all today.
Mother's Day - A food Memory


  • At 6/3/05 09:03, Anonymous Mum said…

    That was a lovely blog; happy memories Thank you.

  • At 6/3/05 10:46, Blogger Beccy said…

    As you'll know from my email Mollie repeated our tradition with marmite toast in bed for me. I also remember filling a plate with biscuits pretending they were for Mum but really knowing we'd get to eat them, the only time we'd be allowed biscuits for breakfast.

  • At 7/3/05 07:52, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a nice post! Unfortunately (for me) it has made me realise we forgot to call my mother-in-law in England yesterday. Maybe she'll forgive us if we catch the US or the French mother's day (which are both different from each other and from England)!

  • At 7/3/05 16:37, Blogger Stephanie said…

    It wasn't until we honeymooned in Ireland three years ago that I realized Mother's day was different overseas...we were terribly confused at first, wondering why all the post offices had Mother's Day cards!
    It was quite clear to us the day we were trying to find a place to lunch, and were lucky enough to snag the very last open table at a restaurant in Baltimore (Casey's Cabin).


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