Tag Archives: Grandmother

DELICIOUS HOME MADE BEIGELS/ BAGELS

 

Not as perfect as those from Beigel Bake but they taste fine

Having written about my grandmother selling beigels on the corner of Wentworth Street and Goulston Street, I just had to have some. As an 88 year old self-isolating, I can’t go and buy themfrom Beigel Bake in Brick Lane, so I got out the Lekue Silicone Beigel moulds I bought ages ago. They are brown perforated moulds rather like Witch’s Hats with a very narrow point you push the balls of dough over to give a neat central hole. You prove them and then boil them on the moulds.

My English granddaughter, Becca, not to be outdone, rolled her dough into sausages, curled them into a ring, moistened the ends and stuck the ends together. I just glazed mine with milk and left it at that, but Becca who, like her brother Luke, is Vegan, glazed hers with Oat Milk and decorated some with poppy seeds and some with sesame seeds. They look fabulous on her Whatsapp message.

She and her partner got the corona virus early on, fortunately quite mildly, so Becca has been able to go back to working for the charity that distributes unwanted food from supermarkets and restaurants to the needy. Would love to be able to see the family again in the flesh. Zoom is great but there’s nothing like a hug from the family.

Can’t say my beigels taste exactly like the professional ones but they’re pretty good– and they freeze well. It’s an important consideration when you are just two very old people desperately trying not to put on too must weight!!

BAGELS 

Bake 220°C 15-20 mins

For 12 bagels

Continue reading DELICIOUS HOME MADE BEIGELS/ BAGELS

RYE BREAD AND BEIGELS/ BAGELS (TOMATOES/ TOMATOES)

A traditional tasting rye and caraway loaf but not the traditional shape

Living in Petticoat Lane opposite the Kossoff and Grodzinski bakeries, a slice or two of rye bread and butter accompanied every meal – without butter if it was a meat meal. My grandmother, who lived with us until she died in 1937, had long since given up her pitch on the corner of Wentworth Street. She sold beigels there until my parents got married in 1918 and she moved with them to Old Kent Road.

It’s always lovely having my daughter Louise and her Basque husband Mark come to stay and one of their special treats is to buy us a couple of sliced rye loaves and some beigels from the Beigel Bake shop at the end of Brick Lane. My hip is still too sore for me to walk far and parking is difficult around Brick Lane, so we’ve given up going ourselves.

They were due to come for Easter, but who knows when air traffic will resume?

So, it’s down to making my own. The rye and caraway loaf I make in the breadmaker tastes fine and authentic, but it isn’t an oval glazed loaf like the traditional one. I haven’t made any beigels for some time – it’s a bit of a faff having to boil as well as prove the dough – but just writing about them makes me long for some. Maybe tomorrow.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

RECIPE FOR RYE/ CARAWAY LOAF

Bake 220°C 30 mins

BASIC RAISIN DOUGH setting Continue reading RYE BREAD AND BEIGELS/ BAGELS (TOMATOES/ TOMATOES)

SHUT AWAY FOR FOUR MONTHS??

As you see from the bookmarks I always have at least two books on the go

It’s not compulsory yet, but for us elderly folk it’s almost certainly coming. By chance, I passed our local library at the weekend so I collected some more books – now 13 in all. They’re a mixture – mainly my favourite whodunits, but also some poetry and a collection of Oscar Wilde’s witty remarks. I’ve still got half a dozen of my own books to read – some I bought and some left by Louise when she paid us a flying visit last month.

Daily exercise should help. When our physiotherapist granddaughter popped over from San Sebastian I was jealous of her fancy sports watch. Too mean to buy an expensive one like hers, I ordered a much less pricy Letscom fitness tracker. My hip replacement has been painful for years and I gave up on exercise classes for the over 50s so I started by doing 10 minutes of mixed exercises each day. Yesterday I was able to do that much twice. Luckily our flat has a long corridor so I start by walking up and down 10 or more times.

I’ll try to complete the sequel to my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ which I finished in 2017 as I was recovering from the heart attack that nearly took me off. I’m aiming to get back to writing every day. It’s easy to get lazy but if I’m going to be a virtual prisoner for 4 months I’ll need to structure my time.

And I’ve even started sorting and clearing out the kitchen drawers. Amazing how much stuff we oldies accumulate that we’re never going to use again!!

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

 

TWO FOOTBALLERS IN THE FAMILY

 

                       Susan in her football gear

Neither Josh nor I are much good at sports. I was put into the Star Gym Class at school but that was more for effort than for ability. I couldn’t keep up with all the vaulting and jumping and had to give up after a few weeks. However, Josh and I used to play squash a couple of times a week when we were first married and lived just up the road from the medical school where I was a student. All that ended when I became pregnant and we moved to Wimbledon. The damp furnished basement flat, where we lived when we first got married, was convenient both for my lectures and our dental practice, but not suitable for a baby. Since then, we both tried exercise classes from time to time but we’ve not persisted. They are just not us.

Our Basque grandchildren, Susan and Adrian, on the other hand, are keen sportsmen. Both played football for their local Añorga youth team when they were at school. Adrian, who is at Uni, coaches that team a couple of evenings a week and Susan, who is now a qualified physiotherapist and works at a local clinic during the week, is physio-therapist both to the age 14 boys’ Real Sociedad football team and the girls 16-18 team at weekends.

Mark, their father, is retired and does Pilates with our daughter, Louise. She recently ran the local 5 km race for Women’s Day. Both are keen walkers.

Luckily Susan and Adrian managed to inherit sporty genes not our couch potato traits. Now I have got to 88 and Josh to 90 we think it’s probably a bit late to change.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

MY GORGEOUS BASQUE GRAND-DAUGHTER

Two year old Susan saying Hullo to the toddler in the mirror

Until this last year, our elder daughter, Louise, our son-in-law, Mark, and our two Basque grandchildren spent New Year’s Eve with us, either here in London or in the small house in the South of Spain we owned for a time after I retired. As soon as our grandchildren were old enough not to choke on them, they joined us eating a grape on each toll of Big Ben in the UK, or on the peal of the Puerta del Sol bell in Madrid – a Basque custom.

But this year our grand-daughter Susan, who is now a qualified physio-therapist, had other commitments as did her younger brother, Adrian, who is at Uni. We missed them. It just wasn’t the same without them.

To our surprise, and delight, Susan popped over last week for a few days’ R & R (rest and recreation). The practice where she works was closed while some building works were carried out.

Having children is fabulous but having grandchildren is even better. Perhaps because discipline isn’t a grandparent’s responsibility and you can spoil them rotten.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

EMIGRATING TO THE USA

My mother (at the back) with friends and one of their daughters just before she left for the USA

As far as the shadchen (matchmaker) was concerned, my mother was no matseer (bargain). She was pretty enough, and a capable dressmaker who could earn her own living, but she was a fatherless girl and lived with her widowed half-blind mother, who would have to be part of any new household. She’d hardly known her father. He died in Russia when she was only two years old. He’d made a living carrying sacks of ice on his back to deliver to the rich; caught pneumonia and died. There was certainly no dowry on offer.

Then my mother met Harry at a kiddush after a Saturday service. A personable young man, he was an accomplished tailor who had decided to emigrate to America. They were soon making marriage plans, but he was determined to make his way in the USA before getting married. He left a couple of months after they met and promised to send for my mother and grandmother when he had found a job and somewhere for them all to live. My mother started making her trousseau – silk blouses, tweed and plain skirts, lacy nightdresses, a silk negligee.

He wrote to say he was now settled in and to come. My mother was to go to America first and send for my grandmother later. She took the train to Liverpool and boarded the ship for New York and Ellis Island. She was surprised and put off, when Harry came to meet her with the daughter of the boss of the factory where he worked on his arm. He assured my mother that they were just friends, found her a room in a nearby lodging house and a job with a young dressmaker making her way in the new country.

By the time she sent for my grandmother, my mother was suspicious of Harry’s intentions but sent the ticket money just the same. It was not to be. By law, there had to be a doctor on boats carrying emigrants to check that they were healthy and didn’t carry any communicable diseases. When the doctor examined my grandmother, he misdiagnosed her scarred eye and cataracts as trachoma – a highly infectious eye disease – and refused to allow her passage.

Harry said he couldn’t help himself; he’d fallen in love. Broken-hearted my mother booked a passage home, but at least she could tell everyone she had come home because her mother couldn’t follow her. She needn’t admit that she’d been jilted.

By this time, the shadchen had persuaded my father, one of seven sons of a wealthy family, that my mother was a worthy wife for him. She hadn’t got over Harry, but my mother thought at least she was marrying a rich man. She didn’t know that he had gambled away his inheritance, nor that he was saddled with taking care of his younger brother. They married in 1918 and moved to Old Kent Road with my grandmother and uncle and opened a Newsagent and Tobacconist shop there.

Harry came back to the UK when my elder sister was 2 years old. He begged my mother to go back to the USA with him. His marriage had been a terrible mistake and he would divorce his harridan of a wife.

But my mother wouldn’t leave my grandmother once more and they never met again.

I thank all those lovely people who read and commented on my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

MY RUSSIAN GRANDMA

My grandma in clothes my mother made for her

My two older sisters and I adored our maternal grandmother. She lived with us in our cold water tenement in Wentworth Dwellings in Petticoat Lane until she died in 1937, when I was five and my sisters 11 and 17. We were broken-hearted. It took years before it stopped hurting.

There were six of us – my parents, my bubba, my two sisters and me. The flat had three rooms – a bedroom, living room and kitchen, together with a small balcony which had a coal bunker and outside toilet. My parents shared the bedroom, my sisters, my grandmother and I slept in the ‘living room’, while the tiny kitchen was where we sat around a small oilcloth-covered table, talked, read, cooked and washed at the china butler sink. There was only a cold tap, so water for washing or, when we were little for the zinc bath, was heated in a kettle on the black iron stove cum fireplace. My sisters shared a pull-out sofa while I slept with my grandmother in the large mahogany double bed that had been my parents’ until they changed to the more modern twin beds. The living room was freezing in the winter – fern-like Jack Frost etched on the windowpanes – so it was lovely curling up against my grandmother’s warm back.

The outside loo had a long heavy iron chain with a wooden pull. The noise terrified me if I had to have a pee in the night. I don’t remember how old I was when it became my task to tear my dad’s newspaper into neat squares after he’d read it cover-to-cover. He’d then force through a nail, and thread some string through to hang the bundle by. There was no question of wasting money on bought toilet paper, but even when my sisters left home, and we were a bit better off, my dad preferred his newspaper to the bought stuff my mother and I used.

My bubba was a tall commanding woman, with dark hair piled on top of her head. It would have been a sheitel – the wig orthodox married women wear over their shaved head. I never saw her without it. Her left eye was badly scarred. It had been pierrced by a shard of glass when the Cossacks came riding through her village, pillaging and looting.

My mother and grandmother came from Mogilev in Belarus. My maternal grandfather died when my mother was only 2 years old, so my grandmother scraped a living turning her tiny cottage into a lodging house. The lodgers slept on a circular shelf around the pot-bellied stove in the centre of the room and ate at the table my grandfather had made my bubba as a wedding present. My father’s parents had died long before I was born.

I’m not sure whether my grandmother could speak Russian – she always spoke Yiddish to us and we replied in English. My mother could read and write Russian, so she kept the accounts required by the authorities. They emigrated to England in about 1903 and lived on the pittance my grandmother earned selling beigels on the corner of Wentworth Street and Goulston Street. My mother was apprenticed aged eleven to a dressmaker, earning 3d a week. Once she had learned enough to be useful, her employer stopped using her as a cheap servant and paid her a small wage. However, my grandmother refused to give up her pitch until my parents got married in 1918 and moved to Old Kent Road.

My bubba always did more than her fair share of the housework. She had a stroke while cleaning the stone steps leading down to the next landing. She was dead on arrival at the London Hospital. The neighbours blamed my mother.

‘Fancy letting her clean the stairs at her age, and her half-blind,’ they said.

But there was no stopping my grandmother doing anything she’d decided on.

Woman in a White Coat paperback

Lots more stories like this  in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

My Maternal Grandmother, Rachel

 

My grandmother

I adored my grandmother, Rachel, and was broken-hearted when she died. Whenever I read this excerpt from my memoir Woman in a White Coat my throat thickens and tears come to my eyes.

Memoir Extract

In 1937, when I was six, my grandmother had a stroke while she was scrubbing the stairs. She was dead on arrival at The London Hospital. Continue reading My Maternal Grandmother, Rachel