Alison Brackenbury is obsessed by time. Now in her sixties, she still feels close to her skilled country grandparents, who lived in redbrick farm cottages, walked to work and, when necessary, fed their neighbours’ children. She remembers them with admiration—but not nostalgia. The poet’s grandmother, Dorothy Eliza (Dot) is the subject of this HappenStance book, which mingles poems with a selection of Dot’s recipes (both her original handwritten copy and Alison’s user-friendly version), and concludes with a delicious prose account of Dot’s life. All recipes have been hand-tested—and tasted! You don’t have to be a seasoned poet-taster to enjoy this lovely book.
Both my grandmothers were of age
to stuff fat sausages with sage,
Lincolnshire’s herb which calms the blood.
They could make dumplings sweet with suet,
slash egg-white with a knife till thick,
plate shoulder-poised (Victorian trick)
but never dreamed of kneading bread.
They ran to bakers’ vans instead.
Yet when strange men tramped round the farms
to beg for work in ’30s storms
Dot—between her jobs—would pour
sweetened tea for them before
sending them out in rain well-fed
on home-cured bacon and white bread.