I do remember.
I recently read an article which said that kids don’t remember anything before seven years of age.It was surprising because I do remember at least a dozen incidents which happened before I turned six. And I also clearly remember that it was before six, because we shifted into a new house at that time and then soon my brother was born. Before that it was just dad, mom and me in a dainty one room and kitchen apartment with big windows and a lot of sunshine.
I clearly remember the layout of the house. The kitchen was huge and we had a double bed along one side of the dining area adjacent to the windows. The morning sun shone brilliantly on that side and several mornings I would be sitting in that window and eating breakfast. Apparently to maximise the absorption of vitamin D in my body. And mom would be tinkering around in the kitchen. Such peaceful mornings, I would stare into the distance and imagine vivid things. Mom was not working at that point of time, and I would have her wholly to myself.
Sometimes it feels strange that the most innocuous incidents get lodged in your memory. My best friend then was a girl who lived next door, she was a year older to me, and at that time seemed so much wiser. She knew a lot of things I didn’t. And while we were a strictly vegetarian family, they regularly cooked fish. I was amazed at the way her mom cleaned and cooked the fish. We would also play a little game where her father would be bitten by a snake and we were doctors, curing him. I am sure, we must have played so many more interesting and awesome games, but that little snake bite act is the only game I remember.
My dad was a cop, and he always worked in shifts. So while most dads were not available to pick up and drop off kids at school, my dad would be there. In fact, (now this I don’t remember, I have seen the photograph), my dad was the one to drop me off in school on the first day. I loved sitting on the scooter with him, hugging him tightly at the waist and looking at the world left behind. And yes, imagine that we were on a horse, racing with other horses, and of course always winning. Even later on, he would take me and my brother on hour long rides. The fresh air constantly brushing on my face left me refreshed and sleepy at the same time. Those really were simpler times. Way fewer resources and comforts, but that was more than required.
I also remember two-three accidents where I hurt my finger or my lip got a tear and needed a stitch. May be the visible trauma of that incident gave it more importance.
Now when we are on the verge of having kids, I always wonder what they will remember when they grow up. We obsess over creating warm and cherishable moments for them, think and plan exotic and fancy events, so that they would have a store of great experiences. But there is no guarantee what would get registered in their tiny little brains. Perhaps the most mundane of activities, like having dinner with parents and grandparents everyday would be a highlight or the few minutes in the morning spent snuggling up to dad before going to school. Or may be just the way a stream of light comes in through the window every evening creating a mosaic of colors on the floor.
We have no idea. But that doesn’t stop us from weaving plans of ‘we will do this and we will do that once the kids are born’. I already imagine myself singing my favourite songs to the baby, and dancing with him/ her to a particular chirpy song playing on the radio.
The kid may not remember it, but I will. For them and for myself.
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Last week, I stumbled upon Donna Hays‘ website. She is a veteran Australian baker and most of her recipes use salted butter, which is the one we get here in India. And what beautiful photos! Go visit her sit, you will love it.
I tried her Beehive Cupcakes and they were a hit. The honey in the cupcakes caramelises beautifully to give a soft crunch at the base and on the sides. I added a bit of orange oil to get a nice flavor and yes made the meringue frosting without the cream of tartar. And it whipped up beautifully.
Donna Hay’s Beehive Honey Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
What you will need :
- 125 gm softened butter
- 165 gm caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or orange oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 eggs
- 185 gm all purpose flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar with some yellow food color, for decoration
What to do :
- Pre heat oven to 160C.
- Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and honey in big bowl beat until light and creamy.
- Gradually add the eggs and beat until well combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder and milk and fold until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into paper lined muffin pans.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool it on a wire rack.
- For the meringue frosting, place sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 3 minutes. meanwhile start beating the egg whites till it forms soft peaks.
- Then while constantly whisking, pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites in a slow stream, incorporating the syrup int he egg whites.
- The egg whites will become hot and continue whisking till it cools down and becomes thick and glossy.
- To assemble the cupcakes, cut a round from centre of each cupcake with a melon corer or a cookie cutter.
- Place the frosting in a piping bag with 1 cm plain nozzle and pipe it into the centre of each cupcake. Sprinkle with colored sugar for decoration.
- If you are using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt with the butter in step 2.
- The original recipe called for cream of tartar, so if you wish you can add a pinch of while boiling sugar and water.
- Egg whites get cooked at the stage when boiling sugar syrup is poured into the egg whites, so don’t worry.
- The unfrosted cupcakes stay well in an airtight container for at least 5 days.