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.