A BIRTHDAY GIRL IN THE TIME OF CORONA or…
~ Grandma Peachey’s Recipe for Scrambled Egg
By the time she passed away in 1983, my grandmother Adelaide Peachey had around 26 descendants – children, grandchildren and great grand children. As a devoted Christian she prayed for each and everyone of us, every single night, before she went to sleep. I always remember that, with warmth – that I was / am loved. That I’m part of something bigger than what is just beyond my inherited Roman nose.
I knew snippets of Grandma’s life story from family anecdote, including that she grew up with her own (maternal) grandmother. And she only told a few tales of her early life, one being how, working and living in the fair grounds, her best friend was a giant shire horse she called ‘Baby’.
She left the travelling life to marry my grandfather, a horse dealer. My cousin Janet recounted how Adelaide’s new mother-in-law was less than delighted, when Adelaide started a fire in the garden to make the first dinner of her married life, not being used to the indoor contraption of a cooking range.
Only later on when I drew the family tree did I realise how hard her early life must have been. She was orphaned by the age of 6 and the family tree shows that she named her own four children (mostly) after her own siblings. And life did not go in a straight line for her after that time. My grandparents divorced after the end of the First World War. A very rare occurrence and a huge cause for scandal in those times. My father, his brother and 2 sisters were then raised by their paternal grandmother.
Yet time moved on and in 1939, my grandparents remarried and stayed together, till death did them part, some 30 years or so later.
So many of the stories of Adelaide’s life are lost or stored as fragmented memories throughout the branches of the family tree, as is the simple way of these things; but here is one little legacy… The recipe for Grandma Peachey’s scrambled egg.
This comes to my mind today as it’s my birthday. A day to be spent in the semi exile of a life in lockdown.
Over the past few days, my COVID hovel of a home has been cleaned and tidied; my garden clipped, organised and mowed into green respectability.
So I woke up on the day, blessed by glorious sunshine at the zenith of a beautiful English summer. All around me was clean and calm. I fed my 3 cats a luxurious breakfast of prawns and then pondered what my own birthday breakfast should be. I have a little ritual that I will make myself a cooked breakfast and sit in the garden to eat it, soaking up the sunshine and birthday bonhomie.
And today I remembered Grandma Peachey’s method of making scrambled egg:
* Break 2 eggs per person into a bowl.
* Add a teaspoon of milk, some mustard powder, salt and pepper.
* Whisk thoroughly.
* Gently heat a frying pan or saucepan and pour the mixture in.
* As the mixture starts to solidify, add some butter into the mix.
Don’t mess or fuss with it. Just stir occasionally and gently with a wooden spoon until it is cooked through and ready to devour.
My own version of this family favourite has evolved over time… I’ve substituted grain mustard and cream. Two slices of sourdough bread are started in the toaster, later to be slathered over in goats butter. Then I cook the eggs in my microwave – literally 2 blasts of 40 seconds and I have a feast fit for a birthday queen. And as this was a royal occasion, I garnished it with deliciously regal strips of smoked salmon. It was then carried ceremoniously out to my garden table, where I ate it in the sunshine, joined by my prowling, posing cats.
As I reflected on the start to this day, my thoughts were this:
I wasn’t concerned that COVID had tempered with or short changed me in any way. The day was what it was and I accepted that – not passively, but with grace and by choice. And I prepared for it so that I could pause in it – I didn’t set the day up to be special; simply settled into it, as it was.
In this time of Corona, for me, this is about accepting where and who I am right now; and what ever day in the life this is, that I always have so much to celebrate and learn.
This years birthday was a day of slow, easy joy. I had the company – socially distanced, in my garden, of a handful of people that I love. And it started out with my grandmother’s scrambled egg, so I got to spend some time with her again, too…
So really – tell me, what could be more perfect than that gorgeous little eggy legacy?
And with that start to it, the day could just gently unfurl as it would… My big brother and 3 of my best friends met me in my garden… I ordered up a delivery of afternoon tea for lunch and we chomped on Chinese takeaway for dinner. We slurped tea, quaffed champagne, chatted, walked, and we basked in the sunshine.
And then I was another year older…
With best wishes, from Sandra – Birthday Girl xx
PS: If you are moved to make scrambled egg by suggestion of this post, I’d love to know…
PPS: To experience more of my take on life, you can also buy the book of blog, where my ‘Love Letters to Life’ explore and celebrate the tiny and titanic aspects of life: ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ is published in both paperback & kindle. And for a special offer of a signed author copy – click here to go to my website now and buy the paperback for just £7.99…