Ma Baker sits quietly with some other ‘let’s make a non-chef, as loving as Nigella’ – kitchen paraphernalia. Waiting for her weekly moment in the spotlight.

Surely, on this lovely Saturday morning, as the sun comes up, Ma Baker hears the kitchen cupboard open. Brown bread flour, a packet of instant yeast, skim milk, olive oil, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and lukewarm water is neatly lined up on the steel table. 

The lady of the house is quietly humming. Ma Baker waits breathlessly. Suddenly an electrical current wakes her out of her dreams, into action. Buzz, bleep, click.  Soon Ma is set to mix, proof and bake a 900 g brown bread loaf. In just over three hours her efforts will bring the now still sleepy lady of the house, accolades from a loving husband and daughter.  

The house will smell of freshly baked bread. A soft, yeasty warmth will lull the senses. The warm bread will be lovingly sliced on a wood cutting board as old as the lady of the house herself.

Just before her birth, more than 59 years ago, her own father lovingly cut the board out of a piece of wood. Many loaves of bread lovingly cut on this over the years.  

However my predecessors, sans Ma Baker whirring away merrily, those being my Ma, her Ma, and all the Ma‘s before them, had to go through a much slower, blood sweat and tears, physical process to produce a warm bread.

Our Mas’ (in my mother tongue Mom is Ma, Grandma is Ouma) had to get up before first light. Re-kindle the fire. Measure out flour, mix yeast to activate and then kneed like a woman possessed to get a nice dough, which then had to be covered, placed somewhere warm to proof. 

No wonder they were a generation much hardier than us. We have a saying in our country: “We come from women who trekked barefoot over the Drakensberg.”  Feisty and strong.

Our traditions and ethos is waning. Our language linked with the atrocities of apartheid politics. It is so sad. We are not all what the label says! Most South Africans are not what their politicians represent. C’est la vie!

But I digress.

I love Ma Baker. She spares me three hours in which I can read, write a #SoCS post, and get Nigella-fan like adoration from my hubby as he covers the freshly cut, warm crust in golden yellow butter. 

I swear, that glorious first bite moment and the glowing happiness on my darlings’ face, I hear all the Ma‘s in my life are sitting on the roof. Legs crossed, wings flapping and smiling.

Freshly baked bread = Ma love! Ma Baker love!

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