In my case the old wives tale of new house, new baby was absolutely true– though not in its original meaning. They say that if you move house then news of a new baby is surely soon to follow, whereas in my case I moved house and the birth of my new baby was very soon to follow. I do love old wives tales and indeed superstitions though I very much doubt if my labor pains could have been eased by putting an axe under the bed or by the old tale that if a woman in labor ‘ wears her husband’s hat, her pain will be lessened’.
I spent Thursday frantically washing, shopping, cleaning and generally nesting; before cooking a roast dinner and then still having loads of energy. Indeed this was as clearer sign of childbirth being imminent as any and at 1:00am the next morning I was in labor. An ambulance was called when my contractions reached five minutes apart, but sadly my dreams of enjoying a nice birthing pool in the hospital were not to be, for I arrived at the hospital at 2:30am and the baby was delivered on the stretcher in the first available room at 2:33am, there was no time for anything on my birthing plan! Indeed things were so quick that my husband, Rob, who was driving to the hospital by car, missed the birth.
As the midwife handed my new baby to me, I instantly felt a wave of proud mother-dom wash over me. As I held my new, beautiful baby girl, with long fingers, her Daddy’s olive skin and dark hair. I could have happily expressed tears of joy and although she is my third baby the whole experience felt just as overwhelming and joyous as my first child. As I held my little 7lb 3 oz bundle I felt incredibly proud and relieved that everything had turned out well and also started to contemplate the fact that I was now the mother to a new-born baby – yes I had got out of the new-born routine with my other children being four and seven years of age.
Amongst the sleepless nights, nappies and the trials of nursing I am enjoying being new Mummy. My husband is ever the proud father and I have never seen him grin as much. He seems to have a permanent smug look since his little girl has been born and there is no better sight than seeing him and baby Rosaleigh snuggled up together.
Well as it is Halloween I shall be stuffing fennel in my keyhole and hanging it over the door to protect against witches – I can’t help wishing there was a sensible old wives tale for making babies sleep.
Until next week I bid you a fond farewell from West Wales
Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon.
When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year.
Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles.
Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations.
Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras.
Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade.
To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life.
Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen