This year, I made a Christmas Cake for the first time in years. I was so determined to have a very special Christmas (and we did) that is seemed the right thing to do.
Mum died in late 2009 and I remember how my brother produced a cake that year. It was not right, too dry and just not like hers at all. He admitted as much and I said that Mum’s cake was gone with her and we would just have to live with that.
Where her recipe is I do not know. I used to love looking at it in her curly handwriting. It was stuffed in a thick and old burgundy cookbook. You know the type that talks about jugged hare as if you have it every Thursday and junket as if you have it on Fridays.
It seems to me that the very things I loved most of my Mum’s “disappeared”. They were the things that were not worth much if any money but meant a lot to me.
Anyway, back to the cake. Mum used to make her cakes with love, one iced for Christmas Day with a little red plastic santa and a plastic holly sprig. She would put a ribbon on it. I loved looking at it but hated the icing. For me, the Christmas Cakes in plain loaf form were much better. She also used to do Christmas cake buns. Cheese was often on the side of the plate too.
The ingredients of the cake included lots of fruit, black treacle, stout and copious amounts of booze particularly brandy.
So this year I made my version and refused to let Him Indoors have any until my Dad came home.
Him Indoors said the cake was “really good”. For a man who is not overly expressive this was amazing. If he won the lottery he would only go as far as saying “sound” and if I bought him a Mercedes car, he might summon up a “cool.” So him saying the cake was really good made me believe it must be summat pretty special. It was if I do say so myself.
What was the icing on the cake? When my lovely Dad said to me, “It’s beautiful. It’s as good as your mother’s”. He may well now be struck down for such audacity but it was a very lovely moment for me.
I want to quickly acknowledge another special Mum this week, the mother of Stephen Lawrence. I do believe most mums would fight for ever for their children and she is a prime example of doing so when everything was stacked against her. Also, I don’t want to say exactly what Stephen’s legacy is as I think much remains to come but it is clear he left something very important for us in terms of learning.
However, as Mrs Lawrence said, she would prefer to have her son with her than know he had a major impact on history. I think all Mums can empathise with that one.