I WOULD like to dedicate this month’s column to my mum and dad who last week celebrated 60 years of happy marriage.

I could only think of one recipe to bake with you this month, which happened to be found in mum’s little red notebook where I carefully copied the baking instructions of her date and walnut cake (didn't people have good handwriting years ago?).

Mum’s recipe book also was packed full of newspaper and magazine cuttings, and even an award for her date and walnut cake was found inside.

It’s a treasure of family history and a record of time, and I found austerity recipes following the war with lots of mock and traditional recipes such as malt loaf, sticky parkin, brandy snaps, buns and my Nana's date and walnut cake.

Coconut also featured in quite a few of mum’s recipes – maybe she liked coconut or maybe it was fashionable along with dried fruits at the times.

But what strikes me about the recipe book is its straightforward and no-nonsense baking – this is real, normal, everyday baking just like my grandma would have baked after the war.

It amazes me that there are so many baking books being published as if it’s something new.

Of course there are always endless variations on recipes that people want to share and there are fashions in the baking world like the present love for cupcakes over our beloved buns and fairy cakes.

But these basic recipes have been around a very long time and have been passed down through the family with pride. One day I will look forward to owning mum’s treasured collection of family recipes.

But what I did love when making my mum’s date and walnut cake other than it being really simple and delicious, was that I felt a connection to my mum and grandma.

I have read that about people before but never really experienced it through my baking.

It was strange thinking that I was following the exact recipe mum and grandma had baked many years ago.

As a family we would have had a traditional Sunday tea around a real open fire with sandwiches made out of the leftover meat from the Sunday roast dinner, buttered malt loaf, and maybe if we were lucky a big wedge of date and walnut cake.

It was all washed down with a mug of steaming tea while watching Bullseye on the telly.

My mum did encourage me to bake at a very young age, baking with her every week. I have lots of fond memories and did consider mum a good baker.

But I presume it was the run-of-the-mill – a normal thing to do in ‘them days’.

Hopefully one day the clock will turn full circle and more children will bake with mum again? Let’s hope so!

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