Amuse bouche...

Mammy’s bak­ing

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES -

Donal to love her bak­ing.

Therese could cook, but she’d never baked. Therese was a city girl. Or that’s what her mother-in-law put it down to. Therese knew not to ar­gue. She just nod­ded. And vowed to mas­ter Mammy’s bak­ing.

If only Mammy would im­part her se­crets. The last time they’d vis­ited Donal’s par­ents, Therese had cor­nered Mammy and asked her about the top three: brown bread, white scones and buns.

“You won’t need them writ­ten down,” said Mammy. “It’s just a bit of this and a bit of that.”

Therese wrote down ev­ery­thing any­way. When she asked about oven tem­per­a­tures, Mammy said: “God, girl, a medium oven. It’s not an ex­act science.”

The brown bread was aw­ful. Rock hard, but raw in­side. She rang Mammy. “Your oven was too hot,” said Mammy. “The crust cooked too fast and sealed the loaf and then the in­side didn’t get the heat.”

That sounded like an ex­act science to Therese.

The buns didn’t rise. “But child, you didn’t have any rais­ing agent,” said Mammy when Therese rang. “Did you not even no­tice?”

The bloody scones were the last straw, but Therese wasn’t ring­ing Mammy again.

“I’ll ask her where you went wrong when I’m down at the week­end,” said Donal.

That week­end, he came back laden down with Mammy’s bak­ing. “She’s happy to bake for us,” Donal said. “Don’t you bother; you’ve enough on with work and all.”

Tuck­ing into her mother-in-law’s brown bread, Therese had to ad­mit that Mammy did it well. There was no point com­pet­ing. Any­way, Da­rina Allen had a lovely recipe for the Ital­ian tear-and-share bread that Donal liked. Da­rina; now that’s what Therese called a mother-in-law.

SARAH CADEN

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