Remember when houses had a hatch in the wall between kitchen and dining room via which laden plates and dishes were passed? It’s unimaginable in these days of open-plan living, but there was a time, dear reader, when houses had an interior wall between cooker and table. Some, I am told, still do.
When I was a child, a hatch was a must for every hostess with the mostest, along with a Hostess trolley (some of us still have one of those), and the complete works of Fanny Craddock. And strangely, the hatch at 134 Moorgate Road, Rotherham (home for my first 18 years) leaps unbidden to my mind every Shrove Tuesday. As I transport pancakes from hob to table unhindered by wall or door, I invariably recall young, wide-eyed versions of my brother and I staring in hard-to-bear anticipation at our closed hatch as we await pancakes from our mother’s expertly oiled pan. Passed with a smile to our willing hands, they are smothered in lemon juice and Tate & Lyle’s best granulated, which remains my preferred means of enjoying pancakes now.
My home does not have a hatch between kitchen and dining table. Or a wall. Or, indeed, a door. This, I am assured, is the very essence of modern living. But I do feel sorry that my kids have never enjoyed the sweet anticipation of waiting at one side of the closed hatch for the pleasures to come.
They’ve also never enjoyed wriggling through a hatch during a game of hide and seek, or the pleasure of flinging it open suddenly to lob a kamikaze Action Man at the head of the person doing their homework at the table on the other side. They do, however, get to help to make pancakes in our very modern, open-plan kitchen (as evidenced by the photo of #3 son above), and, I hope, make fond memories of their own. Houses may change, but Shrove Tuesday, I hope, endures.
appetite issue 28 March/ April 2015
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