The sweet smell of the warm yeast and sugar bubbling up in a well of white flour awakens me to the ritual of a happy Sunday morning. With love and devotion my mum dedicatedly kneads the soft white dough in her worn out brown tureen. Her nimble fingers twisting and turning with the experience of any master chief. Her body swaying in harmony to the clapped out wireless crackling tunes of old in the background. She skilfully captures the air bubbles, gently teasing them into each devoted twirl. With a flowing movement she pummels the white gooey dough leaving her working class imprint on every downward thrust. Masterfully she shapes it into a big soft ball then covers it with a damp tea towel. With her usual efficiency she places it onto the cast iron hob and swings it towards the roaring coal fire where it is left to rise.
After 30-40 minutes she starts the whole process again. Then, carefully rolls the dough into an oblong shape, stretching and pulling the bread mixture, keeping the air locked inside. It is then placed onto a baking tray before cutting into small squares which the family knew as tuffies. Once again it is returned to the hob for a further 30 minutes to rise for the second time, after which it is transferred onto the middle shelf of a very hot coal oven. The same shelve which was wrapped into a blanket and used as a winter bed warmer in the long cold months. Her finely tuned talent controls the dancing flames which manage the temperature of her only source of cooking, the triplex. This was an enamel coal fired appliance with an oven for cooking, a smaller warming compartment above and a back boiler for the heating.
As the tuffies begin to cook, the warm air carriers the delicious smell into our bedroom circulating it tantalizingly around us. I can almost taste the crispy surface of the freshly cooked bun and hot melted butter drizzling in my mouth, titillating my taste buds. Um I sigh dreamingly to my older sister Barbara, don’t you just love Sundays.