Quintessentially Grandma (Friday Fictioneers, October 2012)

Great photo prompt this week on Madison Wood’s Friday Fictioneers.  Thanks to Raina Ng. 

It’s still Gran’s kitchen, only tidier now.

There’s a lingering aroma of nutmeg, cloves and garlic, all mingling with the overpowering essence of vanilla pods.

The grained wooden chopping block, criss-crossed by a  million serrations, prompts memories of busy hands quickly reducing vegetables to pot-sized portions.

Running my fingers over her storage jars, I bring to my lips the taste of salt, oatmeal, sugar and the unmistakeable tang of ginger.

Tears springing, I pick up the keys for the agent, and as I leave I suddenly hear her voice crackling down the years.

Goddamit, the feckin’ spongecake’s collapsed again.”

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to Quintessentially Grandma (Friday Fictioneers, October 2012)

  1. rich says:

    gran’s attitude was still present. good for her. nice job


  2. Make me feel good and then it made me laugh. Well done!


  3. boomiebol says:

    haha bless grannie’s heart. Very well done


  4. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    I loved the sentence with ‘pot sized portions’ in it. That rolls off the tongue so sweetly. The entire piece rings true and full of love. I wonder if you didn’t hear that last line in real life somewhere.




    • Sandra says:

      Doug, I hear that line every time I get the cake-tin and cookbook out. My gran said to me years back “don’t bake, Sandra, you don’t have the touch for it,” and goddammit she was right, too. Good job neither of like cake or pastry. 😉 Thanks for commenting.


  5. billgncs says:

    that made me laugh out loud — my grandmother used to make angel food cake that was so hard it was like wood!


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for commenting Bill. My Gran used to make caraway seed cake. It was appalling and I used to try to pick all the grotty little seeds out – she never took the hint, she just liked making caraway seed cake! 😦


  6. JKBradley says:

    You did a wonderful job of making the scene real for me.


  7. Tom Poet says:

    From the first word this story comes to live. Great imagery, funny and a pleasure to read. Well done! Perfect for the prompt. 🙂


  8. vb holmes says:

    You brought your Gran to life through your description of her kitchen, and her conversation. I hope I’m right when I picture a loveable, tough old bird with a heart of gold (p;ease don’t tell me if I’m wrong–I like her the way I see her).


  9. Hi Sandra,
    You have a spectacular way of changing direction so fast it makes my head spin. I loved the rich, vibrant details in your description. Granny sounds like a bit of curmudgeon. Ron


  10. Grans essence is what she will take with her when she leaves that house. I was left feeling happy about a bond, not sad over a loss. Nicely done.


  11. That’s definitely what my nana would’ve said


  12. Kitchens and grans- somehow you can’t imagine one without the other


  13. Jan Brown says:

    I loved the story all the way through, but I especially loved the ending! Wonderful!


  14. claireful says:

    I love how you’ve used sight, smell and sound to bring back the memories of Gran, and I also like how we don’t understand the significance of the first line until the penultimate. Nicely done.


  15. Raina says:

    Love the aromas: nutmeg, vanilla…sweet. And the voice at the end made me smile…bet it made her smile too. Thanks Sandra this was lovely.


  16. I’ve only just had breakfast but your medley of scents and tastes has me wanting cake – good job on the imagery and the evocative atmosphere. That last line is hilarious!

    We’re here: http://www.lazuli-portals.com/flash-fiction/left-behind


  17. In one line you drew a clear picture of Gran and made me laugh in the process. Love this story! Thanks Sandra.


  18. unspywriter says:

    Ah, to meet someone else who kens “feckin'”! Nice, evocative story, and I still hear my granny’s voice down through the years.

    Thanks for the comment on mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/shuttered/


  19. kdmccrite2 says:

    Delightful. That last line made me laugh. Dear old Gran.


  20. elmowrites says:

    Oh Sandra, this is fantastic! I laughed out loud at that final line – so much nostalgia and love for Grandma, and yet she’s perhaps not quite the perfect cook of memory after all. Perfect!


  21. Russell says:

    Just when I was starting to feel mushy and sentimental, you snapped me back to reality. Great closing line. I burst into laughter. Good thing I didn’t have my mouth full 🙂


  22. Parul says:

    I could never bring myself to selling a house with such memories… Must have been so hard for the protagonist of your story. Good work.
    I loved this line in particular – “Running my fingers over her storage jars, I bring to my lips the taste of salt, oatmeal, sugar and the unmistakeable tang of ginger.”


  23. Sarah Ann says:

    There I was feeling all sad before Gran turned round and kicked my in the shin. Great last line. Very clever. 🙂


  24. John Hardy Bell says:

    Just when I felt a little sadness coming on, you gave me a nice little chuckle at the end! Grandma’s the world over would smile reading this one! Great stuff Sandra!


  25. I especially like the image of a million serrations!


  26. Hi Sharon,
    Love that striking voice popping out of memory just when tears might have started otherwise. Nice! Lorelei


  27. sue Cottrill says:

    another good read


  28. Brian Benoit says:

    Really nice, sentimental, but believably so, and with a great contrast at the end – sounds a little bit like my grandma actually. Loved the descriptions, too!


  29. Joyce says:

    Ha ha. Such a cute story. What a feisty, fun grandma she had, and maybe the new owners will hear her cackle, smell the aromas, and imagine her baked goodies. Loved it.


  30. Beth Carter says:

    LOVE the story and especially love Gran. That surprise ending was great. Wish she had dropped the F bomb, though. haha. I’m at http://banterwithbeth.blogspot.com


  31. Everybody’s commenting about the great last line. Did I miss something? Sure did. I had to go back… because for some reason, I missed it. Loved it (chuckle, chuckle), plus all the wonderful kitchen/cooking details. Nice work.


  32. Anne Orchard says:

    Wish I’d had a Grandma like this, Sandra! Hey, maybe one day I can BE a Grandma like this. Great story.


  33. How sweet. I’m not sure I’d want to leave if Grandma’s ghost was still hanging around!


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