These butter cream cakes with jam on top, transport me back to afternoons with my grandmother, aunties, uncles and cousins. I was one of the younger ones then as it was the early 70’s and the rest of my cousins (most of them are younger than me) were not born yet.
We would wait for the beep at about 4 in the afternoon, and a blue van would appear. As the friendly Bread Man slid the door open we saw these exquisite cakes. Current day ones somehow can’t compare? Superior ingredients or nostalgia or a child’s tastebuds? I’ll never quite know?
With the money our Ammachi (maternal grandmother) handed us from the knotted corner of her white sari, we chose what we wanted. She waved us away when we tried to return the change. So our pockets jangled with happy coins.
I realised I never saw her eat any herself. She definitely took joy feeding us all. I may not have been close to her like I am with my mum (we hardly communicated in depth beyond greetings and hugs. Something I regret), but she definitely took pride in us. And it was a warm cosy feeling when she called us “achar pillai” (darling child in Tamil) and enveloped us in her soft folds.
Those were days of security unlike my present tinged with deep fears about the future. No more carefree.