Saturday, November 21, 2009


It began to Snow when I arose this morning. Here in the Cariboo, Snow covers the ground very quickly, once it begins. It isn't very cold...only -5C...but still cold enough that a day indoors sounds extraordinarily wonderful!

It is the kind of day where I can imagine sitting by the Fire with a hot cup of Tea and a good book. I promise myself I will do this exact thing...but first, I am on a mission.

I dreamt last night about my mother. She is close to me,
these days. Perhaps because it is near Christmas, her favourite holiday when she was still alive.

The dream involved making Gingerbread with her. And when I awoke, I remembered that afternoon my mother and I made a very sticky loaf of Gingerbread. I don't believe it ever became a family favourite, since I only remember that one time...but it was an afternoon made in Heaven.

I was very young; many of the ingredients in this loaf were exotic and strange to me. It was the first time I tasted Molasses; I have loved it ever since. And then there was candied Ginger, Almond paste, Honey, Almonds, Sugar Beet syrup...for a budding foodie, these ingredients made a huge impression on me.

The whole afternoon became a memory instilled deep within. I can still vividly recall a Stormy day with steamy windows and Air redolent of the scent of Ginger, Allspice and Cinnamon. That day, it was only me and my mother...other family members were not there. I had her complete attention all to myself, not something which happened very often.

The loaf my mother baked came out of the oven very black and sticky. It was beyond good...I recall licking bowls and utensils while the loaf baked and being in utter awe at how such sticky batter could ever bake into something like a loaf of bread. And yet it did...

I once had this recipe. But I wrote it down in my twenties as my mother recited it to me, in pencil. I can no longer read it well enough...the writing
is faded and the paper is thin, after having been folded so many times.  The ingredient amounts have been erased with time. I wish I had asked my mother once again for this recipe, while she was still alive.

That's the thing...regret can become a friend once one's parents are gone...

So this is my mission find a recipe which is as good as the one my mother baked that long ago afternoon.

Perhaps this new recipe will not have all the ingredients my mother used, since many of them would have been European, but I will adapt it to include as many of them as I can remember. And I will cover the baked loaf with Almond paste, just as my mother did.

Recipes are all about adapting, aren't they? No matter what the recipe is for..

And then...then the Fire will still beckon. With a cup of  hot Tea in hand and a slice of Gingerbread, I promise myself I will spend the rest of the afternoon in warmth and comfort, watching the Snow fall with silent speed.

With my mission accomplished.

" Had I but one penny in the world thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread." Love's Labour Lost...Shakespeare


  1. Shaman things are very interesting to me. I really like your blog. I did not know that last quote was shakespear... I heard it before but never made the connection.

    I stumbled across your blog.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Just beautiful.
    Would love for you to join our forum and post this blog post tis a true delight.



  3. oh marion, this is beyond heartfilled. i read every single word, slowly, fully. i am so glad to know you, to share words with you.

    as you know my mother is still alive. and when she is not, i will remember her green eyes, always present, sometimes pleading, forever facing love and life head on.

    you and your mother: how wonderful. did you have your day?


  4. that is so touching. i love my mom's cooking and have not made any attempt to learn nor write them down...

  5. The sugar-beet syrup would slow me down (must be a Canadian thing). I don't know what I would substitute for that. I guess that is what "google" is for!

    I love traditional recipies, thanks.

  6. Tom,

    Thank you for visiting! I wrote about my Shamanic practices more during 2005/ it has become part of me and my daily life. I'm very grateful for this belief's made my life much easier.


    Thank you for your kind words! I will check out your sounds super delicious!


    Please make sure you write your favourites of your mother's recipes down...I think it's one of the ways we carry on our family histories.


    LOL! I believe sugar beet syrup is European...I've never been able to find it with a Canadian label. But it's good...similar in colour to molasses, but with a bit of a tang in the taste.

    So glad to see you...hope those sore muscles and bones have healed a little more by now! Has your weather been favourable? Nice warm weather helps the older body a lot!!! At least, it does for me. Can't wait for summer, lol!

  7. Thanks, Marion , for asking. I am now going to a chiropractor for "adjustments" to my spine to unpinch the nerve which was the problem in the first place. Seems to be working!

  8. Goatman,

    I'm so glad! I hope it continues to work. I wish you, also, a great Thanksgiving Day!

  9. Wow, that snow looks so majestic.

    Interested to hear you use natural surfaces in your home.

    I live in a hot climate, but with a closed up home in a cold climate indoor air quality would be very important.

  10. kj,

    I think I thought I had already answered your comment when I emailed you over the weekend. I apologize for leaving you out!

    I am glad of the continuing connection you have with your mother. And she has those beautiful green eyes, along with that wry sense of humour! I think you might be a lot like her. I laugh out loud at some of your posts about what she said and did!


    We use as many natural materials in our home as possible, albeit they are rather dear. And sometimes we have to compromise.

    But you're right...air quality in this house is so important. I find I sometimes let cold air in, during the Winter, just to have fresh air. It gets that closed up feeling otherwise.

  11. Thanks for visits, hopefully next year I shall get back to more regular posts and regular visits than I did this year.

    Love snow, but only see it every 20 years as I have mentioned before. Just don't like the cold. We have had strange Summer weather with tons of rain and temps going down to 4C in the nighttime....brrrr.

    Your craving for gingerbread has now got me wanting some. There are tons of old fashioned ginger bread recipes on the Net thank goodness, I just had to adapt mine to Vegan. Another nice ginger recipe is Yorkshire Parkin which has treacle instead of molasses, but I use molasses as it is easier to get here.

  12. Ohhhh, I miss my mama terribly. For me, its the voice and songs of Roy Orbison... I can hear "Blue Bayou" over the racket of a shopping mall, even, and get tears in my eyes.

    These simple things (gingerbread, old songs) make me wonder what simple things I have unknowingly passed on also...

    Great post, Marion. :)

  13. Jackie,

    If anyone knows anything about Ginger, it would be you! I loved your post about the spice and the recipes you listed. I must look up Yorkshire sounds interesting. Treacle is so good, as well, and I can sometimes get it during the Christmas season here.

    I heard that the weather in South Africa was strange this year. I guess climate change hits everywhere. Ummm...4C would be a rather warmish day here, lol! Guess it's all about what the body gets accustomed to!


    Your comment almost made me cry! I imagine Roy's songs were sung by your mother, and now when I hear them, I will think of you...Oh, man, Blue Bayou can make me cry all by itself.

    That's the daughter has told me things she remembers during her growing up years which I sometimes don't recall, but the impression made was memorable to her.

    It's those little things...

  14. Lovely post. Gingerbread brings so many happy memories and I haven't had any in years. Thanks for reminding me.

  15. Your wonderful story made the internal chemicals in my body produce comfort. The comfort of youth and the cold days when my mother would make such wonderful treats. The warmth of the oven and the magic sent of the treats that were in store for us was only supassed by the taste. Now when I close my eyes and intend for the same sense of wonder and love to enter I will go back to those days.

    Thank You

  16. Jan,

    Gingerbread is a treat at Christmas, or anytime, really. There is that heat of the spice itself...with a cup of tea, I can't think of many things better, on a cold day!


    The ovens were different in those days. They weren't as efficient in keeping heat to themselves, as the ovens of today are. There were many areas heat...and the smells of the baking in the oven...would escape, giving a small child a feeling of incredible warmth and love...and memories to last a lifetime.