Sunday, November 9, 2014

Just a pinch

Anna wandered through the antique store, admiring all the “old stuff”. Trips to an antique store were always filled with nostalgia for her. Just looking at an object could bring back fond memories, especially of her grandmother.

It was just an old lard can but Anna was immediately transported back 30 years to her grandmother’s kitchen.

“Anna dear, please bring me the can of lard from the pantry.”

“Which one is the lard, Grandma?”

“The blue and white can. Be careful, it’s heavy!”

Anna’s grandmother was always baking something: bread, pie, cookies, biscuits; all of it was delicious! Anna’s favorite memories of her grandmother were when Anna was allowed to help her in the kitchen.

“What is the lard for, Grandma?”

“It binds everything together and makes biscuits light and flaky. Now spoon some into the bowl for me. When everything is mixed together, I’ll let you cut out the biscuits.”

After every baking session there was hot cocoa and nibbles of their hard work. Grandma always added a dose of learning right along with every baking lesson.

“Never work the dough too much when you’re making biscuits, it makes them too tough. You don’t want tough biscuits! It’s kinda like when you worry too much over a problem, it just gets tougher. Stop the worrying and just get on with fixing whatever it is!

Now bread, on the other hand, needs a good whippin’. You can work out a lot of frustrations on bread dough. Punch it good, and if you’re mad at someone you can pretend you’re punching them. You’ll feel better afterwards and instead of a broken friendship you’ll have tasty bread!”

Anna missed her grandma and her baking lessons. When Anna was in her twenties she went to visit her to learn how to make her wonderful bread.

“Grandma, may I have your bread recipe?”

“Well Darlin’, don’t you remember it? We made bread together many, many times.”

“Yes, I remember, but I want to make a copy of your recipe so I know how much flour and lard to use.”

“Recipe? I don’t have a recipe! You just put in a bit of this and a pinch of that, and then you have bread.”

Laughing, Anna said, “Ok, let’s bake some bread together and I’ll measure what you put in.”

Anna fetched the lard can and bag of flour. Her grandmother would scoop out handfuls of flour to put in the bowl, but Anna would stop her before she dumped them in so she could transfer it to a measuring cup.

“Anna, this is silly. I’ve never used a measuring cup in my life.”

“Yes Grandma, but I’m not you. I want to know how to do what you do.”

“Anna, you are you and that is a wonderful thing, whether you bake bread or not.”

They continued to make the bread; Grandma scooping and spooning and Anna carefully measuring and taking notes. The bread was delicious, as always.

Anna’s grandmother was failing and it wouldn’t be long before she was gone. The family gathered at her house to say goodbye. Anna was devastated but put on a brave face.

“Hey Grandma, I came to bake a pie with you. What are you doing lying about?”

Her grandmother chuckled and took her granddaughter’s hand. She was so weak.

“Grandma, I’ve tried and tried to bake your bread but it never comes out quite like yours. Why is that? What do you think I’m doing wrong?”

“Well Darlin’, I think you’re focusing on making it just right and that never worked for me. It’s better to make it the best you can and add just a pinch of you to the mix.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s simple. You’re forgetting to add the love.”

As Anna looked at the blue and white lard can in the antique store, she had tears in her eyes remembering her grandmother. She picked up the can and walked to the register.  It was like that can was full of her grandmother’s love.


  1. Well done, Kathy! You are a gifted writer and storyteller:) I look forward to reading your next one!

  2. I truly loved this. Got a lump in my throat... I love the quote '..... It’s kinda like when you worry too much over a problem, it just gets tougher. Stop the worrying and just get on with fixing whatever it is! ' ... so so so true. I wish i could worry much much much less ! Love this !


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