Monday, October 5, 2009
Making Butter with a Toddler
I am proud to say I always knew that margarine was a hoax.
Freshly made butter. Pillowy and white. Cool fat lingering on the tongue. Sweet undertones. Soft like a baby’s cheek. Clean cream. Who can offer such encomiums for that nasty ole margarine?
Churning butter is for me a social activity. My great-grandmother had a simple wooden churn. The pole (churner, is it?) was the sort of smooth wood that satisfies the hand so certainly enticing you to continue handling it. The pole, tethered to the wall by a loop of twine, was to be turned and turned and turned.
There I would sit, toes fiddling against the stone floor. My great-grandmother was had a sort of ease and confidence; she spoke her mind and lost friends accordingly. She embraced and nourished childish caprices unlike any other adult in my childhood. She was a woman who felt that tiny, tiny masala dosas, fantastic stories and as much Bournvita as I could drink were important parts of any childhood. And, most importantly she spoke to me. She asked me. She heard me. At seven, those were credentials of an amazing adult. So, at that churn, we talked. Lord knows what I told her. My plans for archiving my sticker collection? My love of Duran Duran? My belief that Esprit was the height of fashion? It didn’t matter—she talked with me. And, in return I heard her. She told me stories of my mother’s childhood, about God and religion, about food, about life. I heard her and even seventeen years after she passed away, I still hold onto her.