Tag Archive | bread

Mom, the Artist

Funny, I remember my Mom as an artisan.

— in the Wikipedia fashion of the definition:

“An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools. As an adjective (spelled “artisanal”), it has been used as a marketing buzz word to describe or imply an association with the crafting of hand made food products, such as bread, tofu, beverages and cheese.”

Especially “the crafting of hand made food products, such as bread,” part. She was a wonderful baker. Her breads, cakes, pies and cookies were hand-crafted, delicious and made with such LOVE; the best ingredient.

I only wish I had some photos of her craft to share with you. Alas, I do not. You see, our family ate her art. (and it was GOOD).

Actually, I should say we ate most of her art.

Mom claimed to not be artistic at all, yet she had a way with a wide variety of art.

She did fine embroidery work and crocheted afghans. Her embroidery work was extraordinary, she learned from the best, thankfully I learned from her. We still have many pieces she did and most of the afghans she made, well the ones she did not give away to family members or someone who needed one.

Besides being an artisan baker and a woman of fine hand-work,  she dabbled in drawing using pastels/chalks. She had done that form of art in her younger years. Not believing she was any good at it, she did not share that side of her creativity with us. Maybe she did not share it was because she was a “mom.” She had three children to raise and a husband to spoil, besides her teaching career.

The last and most impressive pastel I saw her work on was a serene setting of Mt. Hood. In the foreground was a meadow with a cold mountain stream running through it. This lead the eye up to Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak. She had drawn Mt. Hood from memory. Of course she could. She’d seen it, passed by it on I-84 and had been on it more than a few times. A more beautiful, peaceful scene of Mt. Hood I had never seen before. She was good, there’s no doubt.

Looking back now, that may have been the last time Mom actually saw Mt. Hood,  the stately overseer of Oregon….Mom saw that peaceful scene herself, in her memory. At that point in her life she was traveling to cancer treatments and blood transfusions, not to take another look at Mt. Hood. So, she used her artistic ability, the ability she claimed to not have, and brought Mt. Hood home to herself.

Funny, I remember my Mom as an artisan. — to me she was quite the artist, in all aspects of her life, quite the artist indeed.

Today, January 26

My mom, Helen. The compass of our family, a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others. I am happy to be her daughter.

Today, I had taken a day off from work.

Today, out of the blue, I had decided to make some bread. I got out my favorite recipe for bread dough, along with all the equipment and ingredients.

Today, I’d take the time to make a treat for my Dad and my husband. One pan of dinner rolls and a pan of cinnamon rolls (with orange zest, dried cranberries and walnuts).

Today, I’d spoil my family.

Today, again, I’d honor my wonderful memories of Mom, Helen.

Today, I’d do something she loved to do.

She was a good cook and quite a baker. More than that, she loved doing things for her family. She really loved her family. She guided us through or over or around many of life’s obstacles, shared in our joy of accomplishment and always helped us to succeed. She was the compass of our family, a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others. I am happy to be her daughter.

After being diagnosed in 2001, she battled leukemia with all her might, all the while keeping our spirits up and showing us how this battle was to be. She passed away on January 26, 2003… (just before the Super Bowl… We have always joked that she went to get a great seat… Mom, you see, was quite the football fan. Her team won that day.).

Each January 26th since then, I have done something creative to honor her memory and to take back the day, the best I can.  I usually do graphics or some art work all day. It reminds me of the times I’d be coloring in a coloring book (or on the wall) when I was a little girl and Mom was nearby. Always nearby. By doing graphics, working with my own photos I feel that Mom is nearby.

Today, besides the graphics projects I do on this day, I made bread.

Today, I made bread for my Dad and my husband… something she would have loved to do.

Today, my home was scented as if my Mom was in my kitchen baking.

Today, I channeled my Mom… you see, I’ve never made really good bread, let alone cinnamon rolls.

Today, Mom and I made some damn good rolls.