Christmas Memories by Darcie Boleyn
One of my earliest Christmas memories is of making sweet mincemeat with my grandmother. She lived in a small terraced house with a tiny kitchen, so we had to drag her foldable table into the centre of her living room in order to have enough space to work.
My grandmother, or Granny as I called her, was a tiny lady. I’m only five foot but she was even smaller. She’d been a primary school teacher and a deputy head teacher, but she retired well before I arrived. Despite years of dealing with children under twelve, Granny had more patience than anyone I have ever known.
My Granny had an old-fashioned grinder that she attached to the side of the table and we passed a variety of ingredients through it. It wasn’t easy, as we had to turn the handle and it became tiring after a while, but we kept going until we had a large bowl full of sweet, fragrant minced fruit. She added a generous amount of brandy and spices and the mincemeat was almost ready.
The final product was then spooned into jars that we sealed with wax paper and string and secreted away at the bottom of her pantry (yes – she had a pantry!) for a few months to mature.
The whole process took the best part of a Saturday afternoon but it was really enjoyable. I loved spending time with my Granny and preparing for Christmas in advance; it built up the excitement that led to my magical childhood Christmases. These days, I try to capture similar experiences with my own children and I hope that one day I might be lucky enough to do the same with my grandchildren. Time is so precious and we all lose loved ones at some point, but memories and traditions help keep those we’ve lost alive.
Thanks for this touching post Darcie.
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