Oatcakes. Stoke.

running down the backs –
for a dozen. One in the hand,
hot. And the comfortable heat

of the white paper parcel
pressed between arm and chest.

Did I mention the feel
of old cobbles, smoothed
by a million footsteps,
the hot, sour savoury smell,

the hiss of the griddle,
the warm knowing
that there would be melted cheese
waiting in a Pyrex dish

and Granny’s hands, big-knuckled,
turning bacon in the pan?

A poem about memories, for Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse.

33 thoughts on “Oatcakes. Stoke.

  1. Curious construction in the title, I take “stoke” to mean stoking a fire or a memory. But into the first stanza I wondered if “stoke” is something else running down the sides of oatcake (cookies?). But halfway through I was up and running and smelling all of it with delight.

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  2. This is deliciously woven, Sarah! I especially love; “the warm knowing that there would be melted cheese waiting in a Pyrex dish.” Sigh πŸ’πŸ’

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    • It was an area of terraced houses, and there was a cobbled footpath between the backs of the houses, that we always called “the backs”. When I got old enough I could run down to the oatcake shop to buy a dozen oatcakes hot off the griddle for breakfast, get back to the fillings being prepared by my wonderful granny. Staffordshire oatcakes are basically an oatmeal pancake – food to be eaten in the hand by hurrying workers. You don’t really get them anywhere else in England – maybe in Derbyshire. I think I was possibly too local with this memory!

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  3. So evocative, Sarah! I felt like I was there with you–I love all the details–the white paper, the cobblestones, grandmother’s hands. . .
    I’ve never been there, and I haven’t oat cakes, but I had no trouble following it. Perhaps I’ve read a lot of British stories and watched shows set in England. πŸ˜€

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