The sieve and Singer sewing machine
The sieve and the Singer sewing machine are woven into the fabric of my life and that of my sisters and brother. These are two images that followed us constantly through the many counties of Munster where our parents set up home travelling through Tipperary, Clare, Cork and finally Limerick. Both were in daily use in our home. The sieve was out during the day and the sewing machine came out at night when we were all gone to bed. It was then the kitchen table was taken over with fabric and pins and brown paper patterns. My mother was an extraordinarily talented self taught baker, cook and seamstress. We often said that if she was reared in a different era, she could have been anything she wanted to be.
The sieve you see here was in daily use in our house throughout her married life. We never remember her using anything else and believe that the sieve was bought when she was setting up home after getting married in 1950. It is still in perfect condition today. I was lucky enough to inherit it some years ago and use it almost every day. I love baking and every time I use it, I think of her and it brings back many happy memories. No modern equivalent I believe, is as good.
Tasting and Quality control
Her seven children were her very willing tasters and she never disappointed. We each have our own favourite recipe and memories of the wonderful smell of baking wafting through the open windows as we came in the back door from school. White soda bread was made every day along with currant bread or ‘spotted dick’ as we called it. Always, there were other sweet treats such as ‘Queen cakes’ or fruit cake. We were very lucky indeed.
The sieve that you see here was used throughout her married life and is 68 years old this year and still going strong.