Came across my first cookbook, given to me when I was five by Nanna Francesca (signed ‘Nonna’ while I called her ‘Nanna’ in our Italian/ Australian tussle). My favourite pancake recipe pages are still splotched and dusty with flour!
I read that in the 1960s/70s, Ursula Sedgwick’s cookbooks were supposedly often given to granddaughters by worried grandmothers as mothers left the home for the workforce! This wasn’t so for me (and in actuality Sedgwick herself was very much a career woman, advocated for women’s rights, raised three sons with her husband and was a journalist, copywriter and later a magistrate) but my grandmother did persist in giving me cookbooks over the years.
Perhaps in her determination to show me how to cook she hoped to impart something that was a tie to her birthplace and upbringing (her Nonna was a baker) or to her parents whom she’d lost early, both who cooked well (her father, a cane gang cook known for his puddings). I’m not sure, maybe she just wanted me to know how.
While at times I resisted cooking and argued with Nanna/Nonna about it, the irony was, I did come to love it and am thankful she persevered. Nanna Francesca didn’t get to see me achieve other things as I may have hoped yet seeing me come around to cooking made her very happy. I guess sometimes it’s the little things you don’t expect that bring such contentment, however humble they may seem, and near enough is good enough (a bit like how some of my pancakes turned out!!) xx