Friday, April 30, 2010

Homemade rocks

Grandma couldn't cook. Overdone meat, mushy veggies and eggs sorta rubbery. She even gifted my mother a cookbook on her wedding day, and its inscription read
"To Marjorie, with the hopes she become a better cook than I"
But us kids saw it different. My sister and I still talk about the big slab of chocolate cake she'd put in front of us on a red flowered plate, the frosting dense with bitter chocolate and all washed down with a half a quart of milk so cold it froze your throat. Did I mention she made the cake with bacongrease?

But her masterpiece was Molasses cookies. And she made them in the big bowl in the top picture. Then she'd store them in a coffee can lined with wax paper. That can always seemed to be full of cookies. Chewey, gingery, and and big as baseballs.

So this morning I decided to throw out a batch of rocks. I've had the right molasses for weeks in the cupboard, it has to be Brer Rabbit because thats what she used. I am happy to trumpet the news I can still operate a mixer, follow a recipie and my spices are even reasonably fresh.

At the last minute, I decided to add extra raisins.

Here they are baked and stacked on a pedalstal cookie stand I made special just for today.

I only got sappy once while making these, the moment I took the first bite. The light-as-a-cloud texture, the cinnamon and dark molasses taste and I swore I could feel her standing in the kitchen with me. Its not really about the cookies, its about the love.
Pottery news: new pears in my shop tomorrow

Here's the cookie plate painted with a naturey theme. The base is made to look like a tree trunk.
Grandma's Molasses Cookies
One half cup shortening creamed with 1/2 Cup dark brown sugar
Add one beaten egg
3/4 C. dark molasses
1/4 C. boiling water. mix
dry ingredients
3 C. flour
1 t salt
1 t soda
1 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 t cloves
One cup raisins*
Mix to drop consistancy
Place on silpat well apart, they spread.
Bake 15 to 20 min at 350.
*I mixed black and yellow raisins and its very nice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A new workspace and I can't stop making pears

Thank you, sun, for blazing through the clouds this morning. I can now wear one tee shirt instead of three, reassure myself spring really is here, and take photos of my new claywork space.

A whole five foot worktable thats deep enough to allow me room for making larger pieces. Above which I've arranged some old plates and some of mine too. And a clock I like, which does not work, but reminds me not to fritter time away.

I can stretch out here, roll out big slabs to make things like this fourteen inch platter fresh from the kiln. A country lady with her donkey, rabbit and stripey stockings.

I don't have to scrinch in my elbows. And more than one spoon at a time!

A long bench to store clay, tools and works in progress. Can you see the boquet of lupin to the right? I risked jail time for that bunch of flowers. My mother informed me its against the law to pick them. I hope she doesn't drop a dime on me.

(Scene of the crime.)

See what I mean about pears? My sister and I decided this morning they are one of the most beautiful shapes in nature. Here they are drying on a shelf under a sunny window, which I can open when the afternoon sun hits. This was a bit of a motherlode in terms of time and sweat equity (Mostly my husbands), but I can't wait to arrive here in the morning, put on music and turn the lights on, one by one.

Look what Nina did with a couple of my simple bird charms..........
Isn't she amazing?

Animals who garden

Animals who garden
Donkey with green paw