Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ode to all the Mrs Nisbets in the world

i was making pinwheel scones with my 6 year old this morning....

(they are in the oven now - sniff deeply and you may smell the cinnamon and brown sugar caramelising....)

and i was making the recipie i got from my form 1 cooking teacher, Mrs Nisbet.

Form one is when you are about 11 - you have just left the cucoon of primary school, discovering that you have friends with different ideas from your family, and that boys may not just be germ recepticles after all...

School becomes more than an endless round of handwriting and four square and playlunch.

We entered the world of Woodwork, Metal work, cooking and sewing.

Now Sewing created an allergy from which i still suffer - it has to do with straight lines which i am genetically programmed to be unable to create. Hone Poutai and i used to have good races on the sewing machines though which meant our creations never looked that good and we were frequently in trouble but it was fun...

Woodwork seemed tedious but i think the teacher just constantly wished he could be left alone with all his lovely tools instead of dealing with noisy 11 and 12 year olds (i can so relate now Mr Mogford, sorry for teasing you about your lovely jumper with all the M's on it).

Metal work was brilliant - we made a shoe horn, (wonky) a swiss roll tin (biffed out from my mother's house, sadly) and some great enamel work which may well have sparked my silver smithing fire... Mr Nisbet was a hoot - we even snipped some of his beard off with tin snips one day coz he kept teasing us about brasso - drawing out the emphasis on the BRA part of the word which was all very well for the D.A.'s of the world who had boobs by then but mine were two years away from making an apperance so this was very blushworthy for me!!! Sounds incredibly un pc but it was a hoot!

But the best was Mrs Nisbet (yes wife of brasso man).

She was sweet, pretty, with tidy clothes, a well groomed bob and patience to burn (actually patience with burning was also one of her good qualities - i attained 2 foot high flames out of the oven when i got too busy chatting to look after my cinnamon toast)

She made delicious, (well apart from fish pie uurrrgh) instructive recipies, we learnt to bake, cook, preserve fruit and more.

She was kind and inobtrusive and it is a testimony to how good it was that for the 30 odd years since i left her school i have carried her recipie books with me.

My girls know her name. They look through her recipie books and cook her recipies with anicipation of yumminess...

for this unassuming woman i would like to offer my deep gratitude for the work she put into the unruly mob we were - she made it possible for me to cook and bake with ease (Mum did it all at home and i saw no joy in her when she cooked so it was unnattractive to me).

people like Mrs Nisbet create a life long legacy - it is impossible for us to tell at the time just how important it will be to have had them in our lives

but i know that i would never have been able to bake with joy and pass that onto my girls without her

CHEERS MRS N- i'm off to have a scone!!!

ps - if anyone wants her scone recipie - let me know

and i would love to hear from you about the Mrs Nisbet in your life!!!


  1. i would so love the scone recipe!

    loved this. isn't it so cool when someone stays with us forever like this?!

    nice post.....

  2. recipie sent and gratitude coming to you for your visit.... hee hee granolastew is such a good name!

  3. easy.

    Mrs Paley and her red pen.

    every time I see a red pen, even now, it makes me think of awesome drama classes, and almost hilarious english classes where she would execute her quick and harsh wit on the sometimes unruly boys. I had her as a teacher every year from grade 10 to 12. Had her for 2 classes in grade 12. She always made me smile, even when telling me how awful my english assignments were, and I wish I could thank her!!

  4. God bless Mrs Paley - i so like how i can "see" your eyes light up when you write about her... i think you did just thank her - is she still around???