Baking tips from Annie by Pauline SeawardsI was a plain cook
in service and at home.
I was mashed spuds, slab cake, Birds custard
cabbage cut roughly and cooked properly.
I was skin a rabbit
pluck feathers from a hung bird
singe and draw.
Some women are too dainty for their own good
fall at seventeen
shop bought fancies all their married life
All men are boys at heart
seek comfort in sugar sandwiches
Sponge was my true love
baked when the oven was hot for roast.
Used cracked eggs (they have to break anyway),
mixed all in one with flour and fat,
flavoured half plain, half chocolate,
or coffee, to ring the changes
used the Stork wrapper
to prevent sticking.
In her ninetieth year, arthritic, her fingers were like dahlia tubers,
clutching a wooden spoon she could barely stir the mixture
The cakes still tasted the same
as if the blackened tins remembered the rise and flavour
Pauline Sewards currently lives near the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire and is working on a series of poems about her grandmothers who were all fantastic bakers and unrecognised poets.