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January 31, 2010
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Put 3 eggs and 4oz of caster sugar in a large bowl standing over a pan of hot water. Use an electric whisk to whip until stiff, light and creamy. In the kitchen, my Mum is an expert from experience. Her baking is never too fancy, nothing over-the-top; her meals are never pretentious. Rather, her values are for tried-and-tested recipes that have, and will, stand the test of time. Slowly sift 2oz flour over the mixture and fold in very lightly using a tablespoon. She still measures using ounces and I like it – I have become adept at measuring and converting imperial and metric units and love the feel of past generations in her time-honoured recipe of '2 eggs and 2oz each of sugar, butter and flour.' Add the remaining 2oz flour or cocoa powder in the same way and lightly stir in the hot water. Line a swiss roll tin, 9x12 inches with non-stick baking paper and pour in the mixture, making sure it covers the whole surface evenly. Even hundreds of miles from home I can imagine, clear as day, the sound of the oven being opened and a steaming cottage pie brought out, lovingly embraced in my Mum's favourite striped oven gloves, a smile breaking on her face as she sees my own full of awe and anticipation. Bake near the top of the oven for 7 – 9 minutes at 200 degrees until golden-brown, firm and well-risen. Her hot apple pie with a shiny ceramic pie bird nestled in the top was another favourite of mine; golden, home-made pastry laid lovingly over fresh slices of sweet cooking apples fallen from the big tree at the end of the garden, where my yellow swing swayed in a gentle summer breeze. Equally I used to long for the wafting smell of jam tarts from the kitchen and then the taste of the warm, crumbling pastry and the home-made strawberry conserve, as sweet in my mouth as when I first tasted it late on a summers evening a few weeks before, fresh from the huge pot simmering in the kitchen.  Caster sugar should be liberally sprinkled onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and laid ready on top of a damp teal towel. My fondest memory? Without a doubt: cake. In particular, warm custard being drizzled over Mum's famous quick-cook choc sponge, made easily with fewer eggs and a less than three minutes in the microwave after a long day. And scraping the glass bowl free of crumbs afterwards was the best way to end a perfect meal. Finally, turn the cake quickly out onto the paper, trim off crusty edges (save to nibble on!) and spread home-made strawberry jam all over. Now, years after moving away from home, I still desperately look forward to visiting for a day, a week, hopefully more, and being in that kitchen with the familiar smells, the same old, worn recipe books on the shelf and maybe… maybe something new to learn. A new twist on an old chocolate cake favourite, perhaps.
Roll up the sponge and sprinkle with icing sugar for a perfect Chocolate Swiss Roll.
This is my entry for the Recipe for Lit competition >> [link]

It was inspired by one evening that I spent with my Mum whilst home for Christmas last month. Together we made the recipe featured here for the first time and it was a roaring success! We served it up on Christmas day and ate it with cream and mulled wine to drink (see photo!)
:iconmsklystron:
msklystron Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I really, really liked what you were attempting to do with this story writing-wise. The recipe also sounds terrific.

You were biting off a lot here, giving a description of baking the roll as well as describing the memories this evoked. It really worked for me. I felt as if I was in a busy, aroma-filled kitchen full of memories of past recipes and good times. I can step into my mother's or my own kitchen (I'm oldish) and find myself surrounded by scents, bakers, conversations and music.

All you need to do to improve the flow for readers is paragraph. For this piece, I'd suggest dividing it with a step for the roll in the first sentence followed by a memory for each separate paragraph.

As a Canadian, I took pleasure in the British terms, such as "pie bird". You included so many details in your story that made it come alive.

Thanks for your entry and keep writing.:)
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:iconinvisiblesnow:
InvisibleSnow Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2010  Professional Filmographer
Thank you so much for your comments!
I'm glad you enjoyed my story and I've taken on board all your good suggestions, especially about paragraphing this one - i think you're right, it needs it!

I didn't realise you don't say 'pie bird' in Canada :D that makes me smile.

Thanks for reading and for holding the competition! I had fun writing my entry.
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:iconmsklystron:
msklystron Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome!

What you were doing in this story was very ambitious, creative and writerly. So, I hope you write more, enter more contests, do prompts, workshops, etc. The feedback you'll get will help you with the boring technical stuff. (I'm not exactly perfect with spelling and grammar myself.:))

I think when I was young I was surrounded by more people who came over from Britain and Europe after WWII. (Now, Toronto, where I live, is very multicultural with people from all over the world.) These pie bird users of my childhood would have been the grandmothers of my friends or cousins. My grandparents and great-grandparents (and further back too) were born here in Canada.:) There was a little rhyme/song about pie birds that I sang as a child: "Sing a song of six-pence, a pocket full of rye, four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened the birds began to sing..." Now, people, who still make pies at home, just take a paring knife and cut decorative slits in the top crust to let out the steam. Sometimes if you buy a pie from a bakery or farmer's market it has that cut-out circle in the top where a vent or perhaps a pie bird might have been.:)

My pleasure!
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