Posted by: Robin A. Edgar | April 11, 2010

Excerpt from In My Mother’s Kitchen by Robin A. Edgar

The Mandel Bread Pan

                My kids were all in bed and I was cleaning up the aftermath of macaroni and cheese and algebra homework. Something was stuck in the oven drawer and I could not get it to shut.  After a one-sided wrestling match, I finally pulled the whole darn thing out, falling backwards and landing on my bottom. Accompanying this thud were the drums and cymbals of pots and pans crashing to the floor.  From this new viewpoint I could finally see the culprit.  That pesky mandel bread pan had managed to squirm its way out the back again and wedge itself between the drawer and the wall.  It’s not really a baking pan at all, but the bottom of an old aluminum ice-cube tray, the kind they don’t seem to make anymore now that plastic is around. 

My mother used this oddball utensil to bake her famous mandel bread, a semi-sweet Russian pastry that was my “If I were lost on a desert island and could have only one thing to eat” food. She discovered it was just the right size to bake my favorite treat in her toaster oven so she didn’t have to turn on the big oven and heat up the whole kitchen.

Using a broom handle, I fished for this sacred vessel, dented and stained from years of service, and gently dusted it off.  Carefully I placed it back in the drawer. Every year on my mother’s birthday, I pull it out and bake mandel bread in my toaster oven.

For my daughter’s wedding shower, in addition to her other gift, I gave her a set of old and dented aluminum ice cube trays that I had been saving for years. I included a recipe card with her grandmother’s mandel bread recipe, so she could carry on the tradition of love and good eating.

From In My Mothers Kitchen: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence

by Robin A. Edgar (Tree House Enterprises 2003)

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