From my poetic kitchen – haibun for dVerse (and for Steve)

It’s May, and I’m making mince pies. Tomorrow we are holding Steve’s leaving do. We love Steve, and Steve loves Christmas dinner, so that’s what he’s getting. He deserves all the love, all the turkey, all the stuffing, every single pig in blanket. He’s a great friend, a great colleague, a great therapist. He has made a difference, to my life and to many others: all through my chemo, years ago now, he drove miles out of his way to bring my son home to me from nursery. He brings all that love and care into the therapy room, where he has literally saved lives. He really has no idea how wonderful he is.

So, I’m making mince pies.

The mincemeat is left over from Christmas. I made it myself – it’s a Nigella recipe, that uses a little quince. I’ve just loosened it with home-made quince brandy, so it smells really fruity. The pastry is made my mother-in-law’s way, with lots of butter, and a little icing sugar. I’ve bound it with an egg yolk, the way she does. I’ve cut out pale discs of pastry, and loaded them with juicy mincemeat, and made the scraps into a tiny pasty for my son, who announced that he loves mince pies. Maybe something rubbed off on him on all those car journeys.

Nobody’s quite sure how the logistics will work tomorrow. Everybody’s bringing a plate of something. I think it will probably be a little chaotic. We will reminisce. There will be some laughter, and possibly tears, and lots and lots of food and love.

White hawthorn blossom
Snowdrifts in the spring hedgerow,
Scents the warm spring air.

Bjorn at dVerse asks us to write a haibun, starting from a recipe. Coincidentally, I made mince pies (!) tonight for a dear friend’s leaving do, so this is for Steve as well – though he’d better not read it until tomorrow.

Recipe – NaPoWriMo 2

This is our family cake
that marks our high days
and our holidays.

Mum still makes it, carelessly,
on autopilot;
my daughter, sternly,

Glaring at the kitchen scales,
frowning a little,
concentrating hard.

The knack of it has passed me by,
I’m not a baker:
half my cakes are jokes –

we tell them, laughing at the
cake that sank, or burnt,
or just never rose.

Still, it’s our family cake,
so I watch my girl
creaming the butter

weighing out flour and sugar;
my mother’s writing
a little wobbly,

spidering across the page:
now beat two large eggs,
now add vanilla.

This is the cake my daughter
will take on with her
when she moves away –

butter the cake tin, fold in
flour, a pinch of salt –
and maybe she will

watch her own daughter, or her
son, frown, read my
mother’s tottering hand,

cream butter, sugar, beat eggs,
weigh flour, add it in,
bake until golden.

NaPoWriMo offers us the prompt of “recipe”.