Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brunch and Great-Aunt Gertrude

When I cooked breakfast this morning it took me to thoughts of my Great-Aunt Gertrude. This lady was my Mother's aunt and her mother's sister. She passed away when I was I would say, around ten years' of age and my memories of her are of a very nice lady who always had a ready smile for my sister and me, and always a kind word for my Mother. Mother in fact loved her. She was a widow, husband long gone, who had no children of her own.

She and her husband spent many years in India. His work was something to do with the railroads, a train-driver I think. There is a photograph of my Great-Aunt taken when she was in India. She was sitting in a huge wickerwork chair, a large potted palm plant in the background and two little Indian boys standing on each side of her. There was the most contented smile on her face. Her young companions were handsome little boys, with the most beautiful eyes. This I noticed when I was a little girl and the thought stays with me still. My Dad always told me that you can tell a lot by looking at a person's eyes. The eyes they do say are the windows to the soul and these little boys and their beautiful eyes, I can see them now, the memory is so vivid. I hope they are still living a very happy life in India. The photo is long gone and I have always wondered where it disappeared to as I would love to have it now, but my memory will have to be my photo.

My mother told me a little of Great-Aunt Gertrude's story, and it was that she loved these little boys dearly as if they were her own children. She wanted to adopt them and bring them back to England but this was never meant to be and she was broken-hearted at the thought of leaving them. She and her husband returned eventually. I know nothing more about their time in India.
While in England, and this is where the story turns dark, the husband was murdered and they never did find out who ended his life. That's all I know about my Great-Aunt Gertrude.

Now for goodness sake, how does this brunch remind me of my beloved Great-Aunt? I was in Wegmans yesterday and I bought for the first time some Naan Bread. As you may well know, Naan bread is an Indian flat bread and so my thoughts traveled to India, to a dear lady from my childhood and to the little boys she loved all those years ago. My mind works that way, what can I say?

Our breakfast/brunch was delicious. I covered the bread with a lot of grated Cheddar cheese, and on top of that I had sauteed chopped onions in olive oil, and when they were just about transparent, I popped them on top of the cheese and put them under the broiler until the cheese had melted and was golden and gooey and really yummy. In the same oil I sauteed slices of tomato. I suppose I could have arranged the tomato slices on top of the cheese before grilling but they were an after thought and the grilling process was well on the way. Next I poached a couple of eggs and I now present to you, Great-Aunt Gertude's Delight, in honor of my Great-Aunt and her love for those little boys. Okay, so this recipe probably wasn't my own invention and is a mixture of other recipes I have read about that have been inedilibly imprinted on my brain over many years. It has no doubt been done a thousand times before but for all intents and purposes I suppose I was patting myself on the back for throwing some relatively simple ingredients together and coming up with this. I can be a silly girl :)

After we sat back having scoffed the lot, we decided this was a meal enough for two and next time I will just make the one bread for both of us. In the meantime it was delicious Gregg and I ended up eating one apiece. Next time we will share, and there is after all a next time as we both said this recipe was a keeper.
Our Sunday brunch is dedicated with love to my dear Great-Aunt Gertrude.


  1. that looks so good, my tummy is rumbling...............mind you it could also have something to do with the roast of beef in the crockpot ;0)

    Great story also.


  2. Oh yum, again with the roast beef. I'm coming over :)))

  3. I love reading family memoirs.
    A lovely remembrance.
    I'm an ex=pat too - living in New York.
    ps love your very English photo....

  4. That looks like a lovely brunch. And what a sad story of your Great Aunt Gertrude.

  5. Elizabeth, thanks for visiting. I remember that bowler hat so well. The elastic under my chin was bothersome and I was always pulling at it.

    Janet, my G-A-Gertrude would be surprised I think that I remember her so fondly and with a lot of sympathy.

  6. I loved this story and the recipe looks delish.

  7. That's an amazing story, Denise. Compelling. It always amazes me how an object or a moment or a task can take us far away to another time. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. What a great story. I love recipes with stories and when they involve relatives, they're even better.

    My husband loves naan, in fact, I have some in the freezer and this seems easy enough for a late night snack. Maybe even tonight!

  9. Hi Bevson, Sandy and JGH, happy to see you here and glad you enjoyed your visit.

    I am a great listener and I love to listen to our older relatives. I only wish I had heard more stories when I was young, and when I did, wish I had the foresight to write them down. I think this is one of the reasons I started this blog, so that somewhere down the road my grandkids could learn a little bit of the family history.

  10. What a wonderful memory and tribute Denise! That looks so good!! Now I'm hungry!

  11. Okay Eve, I'll go shopping for some naan for tomorrow's brunch. Stop by around eleven. I'll be awake by then and I'll have a cuppa waiting :)