This is my Dad, Jack:
He was born in 1925, in London, England. He can remember the milk being delivered by horse and cart. His entire extended family lived within two streets of where he was born. He speaks so fondly of what he calls ‘the matriarchal society’ he grew up in – a time when your family and your community were one in the same, and all the support you needed was right next door. His house was bombed out twice during World War 2. He remembers the wartime vividly and it can still bring him to tears.
In 1949 he immigrated to New Zealand and started a new life half a world away from everyone who was dear to him. As with everyone, his history has made him the person he is today, and he, more than anyone I know, lives his life simply, appreciating everyday moments and finding joy with what he has.
For my entire life my Dad has rejoiced in his small rituals. He was retired before I was born and so as I was growing up he spent his days at home: mornings with a cup of tea and a bowl of muesli; afternoons spent in the garden; fridays were reserved for grocery shopping and library visits.
One of his favourite daily rituals was baking bread. He doesn’t do it very often anymore (although he can recite the recipe off the top of his head!), but he still preaches the virtues of simple joys such as a homemade sandwich and a glass of home-brewed beer.
I have included the recipe below (click on the image to bring it up in a separate window). When I made it I found that I had to add a little more water (about 100ml) than the recipe specifies – it is quite a wet mix (not like your usual bread dough). It really is the easiest bread recipe I’ve ever tried and the smell during baking is quite divine! I recommend eating it while it’s still slightly warm with a thick spread of butter and some sliced tomato and cheese.
Let me know if you give it a go. Do you have a family recipe that brings back many childhood memories, or that makes you think of a particular person? I’d love to hear about it.