#Guestpost – Geoff Le Pard and cooking with Mother

Geoff Le Pard writes some of the most wickedly humerous flash fiction stories I have ever read. If you have not visited Geoff’s blog you are really missing out. You can read one of Geoff’s pieces here and see for yourself: https://geofflepard.com/2018/06/26/lost-found-who-knows-where-next-carrotranch/.

Michael and I are delighted to have Geoff over for a visit to tell us about his Mother and his new book: Apprenticed to my Mother.

Geoff le Pard

My mother had strong opinions about motherhood, one of which was that when my brother and I left home, we would possess a range of skills that would stand us in good stead for the future. A large part of that motivation was my father, and specifically the fact he lacked any of what my mother considered to be basic skills. ‘I will not be able to look any of your girlfriends in the eye if I let you loose on an unsuspecting world as poorly prepared as your father.’

So it was that my brother and I were taught to cook. Back in the 1960s a boy’s education would include woodworking and TD – technical drawing – but never domestic science. It wasn’t an option even.

She knew she had to overcome several hurdles. One was that my brother was something of a fussy eater. The other day I found a letter he wrote home from University, during his first term in Bristol. ‘I hope to be home next weekend,’ he wrote, ‘so could you make sure you get in some celery and hot chocolate powder’.

An early example of her teaching was making fudge. It’s not difficult: condensed milk, sugar butter, milk and a flavour – vanilla, orange, chocolate. But it’s also a process: ingredients need mixing, there’s cooking, more prep and a waiting period while it sets.

It’s a sweet chemistry and you make loads, far more than we were used to seeing – we rarely had sweets as children, unless one of our grandmother’s came to stay or it was Easter. And if we did, it would be one small bar, easily demolished in a sitting. Not this; two hungry, sweet-toothed boys couldn’t managed this lot – even if we’d been allowed to.

At some point we tried a cake – probably a sponge. We weren’t unusual in that we both loved licking out the mixing bowl, often thinking the cake mix tasted better before it was baked. Back then we didn’t have a beater so the mixing of the sugar and butter was with a wooden spoon. That, people, is hard work especially for two small boys. But Mum mixed it up with getting the filling sorted out and a lot of tasting. Boy, did I enjoy tasting.

My brother? Not so much, but Mum was shrewd. She understood his mind. ‘It’s just chemistry.’ She appealed to the scientist in him. The fascination of why eggs rise. Meringues were an especial favourite for this.

I suppose I might have fallen in love with cooking anyway, even if it had just been a necessity. But Mum’s biggest skill was to create an event with cooking at its centre. It was fun, it was an education, it involved her but she didn’t baulk at letting us, small fingered clumsy boys that we were, try every little thing. It’s not the winning but the taking part that matters. So true in sport, equally true, in my experience in cooking. What if things go wrong, cake flop, meringues don’t set, fudge can be burnt? So what? There are laughs along the way and, with Mum, there were always plenty of laughs. And mess. Especially mess.

Maybe that’s why she had such a massive collection of cooking equipment when she came to downsize after dad died. Maybe that’s why she wanted to keep them all. It wasn’t that she ever thought it likely she’d need numerous glass mixing bowls; it’s what they stood for, what they reminded her of.

About Geoff Le Pard

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Books by Geoff Le Pard

My Father and Other Liars

My Father and Other Liars

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand

Life, in a Grain of Sand

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square

Salisbury Square

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

This is available here

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Buster & Moo

Buster & Moo

Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Flash

Life In A Flash

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Smashwords

Apprenticed to My Mother

Apprenticed To My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

103 thoughts on “#Guestpost – Geoff Le Pard and cooking with Mother

  1. Love it His Geoffleship! You make me think of my mum and her need to cook, and then cause clutter with everything she keeps… There are Indeed memories attached to everything…
    Thanks Robbie!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh the clutter! When I cook now, I wash up as I go… definitely a reaction against mess. Sadly I married my mother in the regard… so I still fight a battle when it is the distaff side’s turn to cook!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, merry and mess, I love that. I was so busy when my daughter was young. I wish we had more merry and mess. But I’m with her, her hubby and my granddaughter. We’ll make more merry and mess. Thank you, Groff!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Your mother was very wise. I also made sure my son knew how to cook for the very same reason as your mom. I didn’t want to do to some woman what my mother-in-law did to me. As it happens, my son was a single dad for 5 years and those cooking and housecleaning skills sure came in handy. A perfect post for Robbie’s blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I like your mother’s style, Geoff. I was determined to teach my own sons these skills, because my hubby had none of them when we married. And I still think the cake mix tastes better before it’s baked.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Lovely images of two small boys and their mother in the kitchen making delicious messes! I also admire how your mom noticed that your brother’s mind was engaged in part by the chemistry of what was happening… Hurrah for cake batter AND for cakes! My mother had me and my siblings cooking, scrubbing pans, cleaning the house, and shopping for groceries at surprisingly young ages. It did give us lots of independence AND life skills that some of our peers lacked… Thank you for sharing this delicious glimpse into your childhood with all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello! What a sweet post! I think all moms should teach their sons how to cook, amongst other things. My mother was similar to Geoff’s mom in that she taught all of us, including my brother how to cook, bake, sew, and wash and iron our clothes. She said she didn’t want any of us to have to depend on anyone else for the basic things of life. I enjoyed this post. Thank you! ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Mum List! I describe the complexities of Mum’s complex notion of ‘life skills’ in the book and how she achieved her aim with two somewhat resistant small boys. Feel free to try it out!!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Geoff and his mother. How wonderful she taught her sons to cook, making them somewhat self-sufficient. Sounds like an interesting book.

    I’ve read the first book in Geoff’s collection of works. It was an enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing this post, Robbie and Geoff. Nicely done. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When we went back to Australia to take the children to meet my family, my introduction to my cousin’s wife was when she walked in with her football boots on. Early on in the conversation she said ‘I don’t cook.’ When my nephew brought his wife and toddler on holiday to England last year we asked who did the cooking as he trained as a chef – he does all the cooking, though he is a paramedic now. Our younger son’s girlfriend is a pyrotechnics expert and they make a great pair; she’s got the head for business and he does the cooking!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful memories. It was a joy to read.
    I cooked with my children and now with my grandchildren, especially cakes, and we all want to lick the bowls, so I always leave a bit extra in the bowl and hand out several teaspoons! Btw, Geoff’s right, the cake mixture tastes better than the cake, always 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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