Flour Gets on Everything

Pizza making

This is a Mother’s Day message. A most Happy Mother’s Day to a most fabulous mum: mine.

Having moved across the country some years ago, I don’t get to spend Mother’s Day with her. We’d probably celebrate by making a big breakfast of eggs and biscuits and then head to a flower nursery for a few hours to pick out something for her garden. A pretty perfect day.

My love of cooking and baking (and making odd things like ketchup from scratch) comes directly from my mom. She cooked for us all the time, but also knew when we were old enough to learn to fend for ourselves. My earliest memories are of helping stir and flip pancakes, and of her baking one extra loaf every time she made bread (which was often) for “chunk bread,” so we could all tear off hunks of warm bread right out of the oven to devour with a little butter.

I still live by her kitchen motto: “If you’re not making a mess, you’re not cooking.”

Flour gets on everything, that’s just what it does. So does butter. Little messes are part of cooking. If you’re constantly worried about the mess — or worse, that you’re going to “mess up” the recipe — then cooking will never be fun. This motto helps me laugh when I forget the flour in the brownies (how did I do that?), and eat them anyway. I’ve applied it to my entire outlook. Life, like cooking, will probably be messy. And that’s okay.

Here’s a sample from the coveted “Cloth-bound Recipe Book,” that I “borrowed” from her kitchen some years back, and count among my few “I’d save this from a fire” possessions. Cooking from the recipes in this book, written in my mother’s handwriting and splattered with remnants of past cooking messes, brings me one step closer to cooking side-by-side with my mom, getting flour all over the floor.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Recipe: Fast Yeast Bread