Each and every single year I make a trifle – we could have 10 guests, we could have none, but the trifle is always made. It usually gets eaten.
I realised last week that I make it in exactly the same way as my Mum did, back in the 80’s, when you know, trifle was actually cool. I can somehow increase its credibility slightly if I refer to it as retro, but the fact is, its outdated. It’s a basic recipe, and I am more than capable of adapting it, bringing into the current day. But I never will.
It’s not about the trifle, it’s about the memories it brings with it. I’ll still be making the trifle in 20 years time, even if no one wants to eat it (this Christmas, as always, it went down a storm!). It takes me right back to my childhood, to happy days. To times when Mum seemed happy. I wonder if Sophie will make it too? In years to come when she has a family of her own, will it bring the same comfort to her?
And it’s not just trifle either. One of my favourite things to make at Christmas is Jam and Lemon Curd tarts. I don’t eat either of those things at any other time of the year, but I have to make them at christmas, with Sophie. It’s a special time for us, a time for us to forget about the other 100’s of jobs that still need to be done before the big day and concentrate on spending time together, just us.
And it’s no different from when I was a child, making the same jam tarts. I can’t remember if my Mum made her own pastry – I assume she did? I can’t even remember a specific time. But I remember the feelings. The memories come flooding back.
It’s funny how food can conjure up such strong memories. As I sit writing this, I can’t even begin to explain how much I miss my Mum, how sad I am that we will never make jam tarts again. I can’t remember the last time, no more than I remember the first. I’m sad that she will never see me carrying on the traditions we made together, with my own daughter. That she may never realise how precious those moments were to me, how comforting they are to me now.
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