Godfrey could be single minded, yes, claimed crimson vegetables gave him hives, the sight of beets made him itchy..but I never knew a time in 28 years, he would ever pass by a bakery.
“When I was a small scruffy lad, said he, I’d escape the grip of Ma’s large hand or when my wayward Dad was somewhere else, I’d run straight to the bakers on the High Street, drool on the glass at the treaties displayed on the shelf.
Oh the Eccles Cakes, the Neenish Tarts, biscuits, and Scones plump with currants! The two Krept Sisters ran the shop, four generations strong. Old Mother Krept swatted me with her broom if I fogged up her windows to long.
Several Mulgrews worked the bakery counter and were nicer to me. I’d charm Audrey Mulgrew to come to the door, and give me a broken ginger nut or whatever had fallen on the floor. How I loved Krept Bakery. Ma blamed herself for my love of sweets, she said, “When I was carrying Godfrey, I ate a half pound of fudge, intended for his Grandmother. “To cover my crime I cooked up another and ate half of that pan to, shared the fudge with Granny and nobody ever knew”
All things Yeast! Like hobo toast, over the fire charred on a stick, slice it thick, the bread homemade, slather with butter and marmalade.
“I was lucky said Godfrey, sister Alice oddly abhorred sugar, but rolled her holiday lollies in dog hair so I could not snitch them ever from her. My clever sister once made chocolates, truffles she filled with an onion boullion cube, she wrapped them for me pretty with a bow and a card, I gulped two at once, got a nosebleed from the gagging. Oh sister Alice and Ma laughed so hard”
..All things butter! Grandma taught me to bake at an early age, from the first sticky page of her Edmond’s Cookbook, we made Anzac Biscuits. She did not want me to hang about the bakery, having rowed with Mother Krept many years ago. She claimed Mildred Krept was a trollop, who kept a messy house, what Mildred thought of Granny I did not want to know”.
All things Spice! To woo my Clementine lovely Fish Lady’s Daughter, I made a batch of doughnuts, rolled in icing, spiced with nutmeg, brought them to her warm in a greasy paper sack. So delighted was my Clementine she slung me over her shoulder, carried me dancing from the fish shop and out round the back.
Lamingtons!! The softest sponge cake filled with sweet cream, rolled in coconut. When I dream it is my first day in Melbourne Australia, city big and busy all about me. I must have eaten that day at least one dozen Lamingtons, washed down with a pot of billy tea.
In those heady, early days I owned a good shirt, and presentable kilt in my suitcase folded neat, when invited nice places, cautious of the rampant beet, when dinner was over out came The Pavlova, the crackle of the sweet crust, ooze of marshmallow, oh the raspberries tart. I learned to make Pavlova, this decedent work of art
All things sweet! I still gaze in bakeshop windows, though as Worzel will attest, I no longer drool or steam up the glass. On Tuesdays I buy Cream Buns to enjoy in the park, sing a ballad of the bakery, relaxing in the grass.