No, this hasn’t become Carry On Blogging but the title for this post is apt. Much has been written, a fraction of it in this blog, about how important it is to see the person and not the dementia. Mum is still Mum – she can’t express herself very well these days and she might not know my name any more, but much of what makes her such a special person remains.
Cooking was one of Mum’s great pleasures. In the days before celebrity chefs and televised cookery competitions encouraged such things, Mum was happy to experiment in the kitchen, introducing an occasional note of the exotic into mealtimes. Fricadelles – effectively meatballs in a rich tomato sauce – were a particular favourite. Number one for me in Mum’s culinary parade was a baked sponge pudding which I named Pie I Like. I should add that I was still in short trousers when I did so. Unfortunately, by the time I came to ask her for the recipe, Mum had forgotten how to make Pie I Like so a warm slice of my childhood – with custard naturally – had gone.
When she moved to her care home, we came across countless notebooks containing recipes neatly cut out of magazines and newspapers, recipes she’d faithfully reproduced over the years. Mum still spends time in the kitchen and last week, when I visited, she’d been hard at work, preparing dumplings for her fellow residents. Sadly, she had no memory of what she’d done less than two hours before but, thanks to Pat and others at the home, Mum’s pleasure at time spent in the kitchen isn’t quite done. I’m so grateful that the staff have taken the time to find out what Mum used to enjoy doing and have ensured that activities like cookery are still part of her life.
So, let’s hear it for Mum’s dumplings. May her culinary adventures continue for a long time to come.