It has been quite an eventful last 4 weeks in the Klang → Subang Jaya, Klang → Shah Alam and Klang → Petaling Jaya routes and back. Klang is where Dad and mum live; Subang Jaya is where Malcolm & Uma and Jeannie & I live; Shah Alam is where Malcolm & Uma live and Petaling Jaya is Klang to UMMC hospital.
The best baker of buttercakes, my mum – Philomena Atkinson; was at her usual at age 84 just about to turn 85.
It was one evening, somewhere in the first week of June, I get a call from mum. Oh, by the way, “best baker of buttercakes” has been bestowed upon her by the many. many, many people who have tasted her buttercakes and want more. Everyone keeps pestering her for her secret ingredient. Her “secret” ingredient is an open secret. Why? Because even if you know it, it would be impossible to duplicate. You may come close, but exacting it is not possible. This “secret” ingredient is called “love“.
You will agree with me that it is impossible to duplicate, just like a fingerprint. It belongs to that person. It is also just like colours.
Here, just when you thought the spectrum of colours had 8 – 12 (these were the standard colours in the box of colour pencils we used to take to school)…. The range started growing until smartphones were touting 16 million colours. Then, the “in-thing” phrase “A.I.” or artificial intelligence (don’t know what the big fuss is all about when politicians have been around for the longest time) has become a new buzzword which in turn has created a palette of 1 ber ber billion, yes billion; colours. So, the standard set of 8 -12 colours are now recognized in the different shades, most of which we think we don’t see; they are there. It is just that we don’t recognize them or take it for granted.
Back to mum’s secret ingredient in her buttercakes. It was that one evening…I get a call from her saying that she had a fall. I had just picked Jeannie up from work and was about to head home. She said that she was carrying a freshly baked cake out of the oven when she lost her balance and fell. I think at that time, dad was out on one of his errands. At 90, that man sure has a swagger.
Jeannie and I went straight up (or down?) to Klang from P.J.. We reached mum within 45 minutes. Dad was already at home by then. Mum complained about a bad pain in her leg. She was advised by a couple of friends to go for an x-ray at a nearby clinic.. She was hesitant and not quite up to going right there and then.
I called a buddy – childhood friend and classmate, Dr Michael Lee Pillai, up for advice on getting x-rays done. He advised that it was better for mum to get an MRI done at the hospital nearby so that a specialist could assess the issue mum had.
We took mum the next morning to have this done. Results showed no fractures or broken bones.
We celebrated her birthday over the weekend and on June 14th, mum’s actual birthday; Jeannie and I visited them. A few minutes after we left them; dad calls to say mum had another fall. We turned back and headed back to their house. We were less than 10 minutes away at that time.
She was climbing the stairs, with the aide of the prong walking stick; to go to her bedroom. Just after the first step, she fell backwards. We believed what could have happened was that the prong walking stick was not placed firmly on the step, which may have caused her to lose her balance. With a slight bump on the back of her head, she seemed ok. But, she did complain of a pain in her hip joint.
We, again took her for another MRI which showed no fractures or broken bones. She decided to take a break from her cake making and focus on her physical recovery.
A few days ago, dad called to say that mum was back at baking, but taking it at an easy pace. Many people who love her buttercakes expressed a great relief to hear that they can get her buttercakes again. Most common statement from them, “There is no others like your mother’s buttercakes”. Pictures of some of the buttercakes she has made are shown here.
Mum is also well known for her suggee cakes and fruit cakes. She would start preparing for the fruitcakes between 3 to 6 months. This story is for another time.😘
So, yeah! The best of buttercake baker is back!
NOTES: Klang, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya are cities in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.