The reinvention of the wheel

As I am cleaning my inbox I stumbled across the following:

There are no original ideas. There are only original people. ”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

No need to mention, courtesy of Goodreads. And it got me thinking about how my last 24 hours have been, struggling  to make a recipe work adding  ingredients – under the suspicion that it had ingredients missing because it did not look right – only to come to the conclusion that it did not have anything missing except for the milk to bind all the ingredients.

Briefly: as I am still unemployed and enough time  I tried to make some Christmas cookies, the way my German grandmother used to do them.  I asked the recipe to my mother, who kindly gave it to me – after translating it from German – and warning me that there was a “catch”: my grandmother used to write down what she knew she would forget. Then the rest, was in her head.  Hence, the chance that it may be some ingredients missing was 50 / 50. It did not say for how long they should be in the oven, not to mention the temperature.

I wondered for quite some time about what ingredients could be missing, for how long they should be in the oven, does the dough need to be in the fridge? All those questions unanswered, hence the frantic scouting over the internet to see if I could somehow complete the recipe.

Last night, when my son was finally asleep, I decided to “reinvent the wheel” preparing a recipe with the ingredients from my grandmother, plus others, plus some instructions. As I am no chef, experimenting was the word of the evening.

Guess what:

WRONG.

This morning I woke up and happily went to the fridge to see a lump of dough, completely unmanageable.

So.

I decided to follow the simple recipe. And use just milk to bind it all. And guess what?

IT WORKED.

Wonders.

Yes, it took me a bit of time – and a small batch of cookies – to figure out the right temperature of the oven and the time for cooking.

Reinvention of the wheel? trying to be original with the great original idea of adding ingredients since I suspected it could be wrong, because it was too simple? Nah.

Tonight a beautiful batch of cookies came out of the oven, scenting the whole house of cinnamon, ginger and clove, with a note of honey. So the wheel did not get reinvented. It got oiled, it came back from good old memories to this century, to this house, to feed the memories of my son.

Simple is best, and as this recipe was ever so simple – I may even post it here – I thought it was too simple, forgetting that sometimes, if not all the times, simple is best. In every aspect of life and that includes being a parent.

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Christmas is gone….

 

It was Christmas day (finally!!). It was my little one’s second Christmas, but I feel it was the first one.

Why?

Because this Christmas he was more “aware” of what was going on. I don’t think he can fully understand what was going on, particularly me going mental from one corner of the kitchen to the other and moving him away from the oven every time I wanted to check on the turkey.

We started the day “as usual as possible” giving him his usual breakfast. And then, the opening of the presents left under the tree. That was a marvel on its own for him I think. I could see on his face the wonder of ripping paper off to discover a wood train or a puzzle (it was a very conscious decision not to buy thousands of presents, just be ruthless with ourselves and go for a few things we knew he would like).

I think the present’s session did exhaust him, because after that he went straight for a nap, a long nap of an hour and a half. Enough time for me to tidy up the front room, set up the table and start cooking. Ah, and get changed into something more civilised and suitable for the occasion. I have to confess, this last thing – getting changed – was a whole challenge for me. Normally used to go around in casual clothes to go to work, then with my uniform at work and then when I get home get changed again into tracksuits and t-shirts, you know when you just get so used to do something and be a certain way, sometimes you forget and continue on the same routine despite the date and the occasion. But somehow I thought to do the effort, as my mother would say “for the picture”.

My little one woke up from his nap – just in time for the cooking – timing – frenzy kick off – and somehow everything went so smooth I can hardly believe. As I was cooking/peeling/chopping he brought some toys and played happily; no need to mention I ended up with all of his toys in the kitchen in less than an hour. But that is a blessing in disguise considering he did not try to help me to cook on this particular occasion.

We had lunch all together and the brussels sprouts where a hit for him. He loved them, and the carrots and the parsnips. No turkey for him – he gave it a miss – but the rest was a whole feast in itself, and that is not mentioning his devotion to Yorkshire puddings. As we ended completely stuffed, he was ready to carry on playing and running around the flat.

Time for the Queen’s speech! And that was the only time I turned the TV on. He was absolutely besotted for 2 minutes. Then he started to try to turn it off, either by using his fake remote control (yes, an old remote control saved countless discussions!) or the on/off button. I have to say I found it hilarious to say the least!! The Queen’s speech gone, TV off, so we carry on playing for the rest of the afternoon.

The day ended as it normally ends, with his dinner, some quiet play, bath and bed. He was – I want to think – a happy boy for the day.

As for me, I am happy, contented. If I look back a year ago, I remember myself being lost, confused, trying to get into terms of this thing of being a mum, trying to understand my son, who at the time was so small and fragile. I can see now that my son was not the only one who was fragile; I can see now I was fragile as well, trying to stand up – or at least trying to hold my head up whilst holding the most precious gift life could ever give me.

It is fair to say that as my little one grows in strength I do so as well. I think we are both growing and learning from each other, following the natural flow of life, I think trying to understand less and starting to enjoy each moment more.

And that can only be a good thing.