Baking and stuff, Family Stories and Food, Greta of the Griddle, Griddle Bread

Greta of the Griddle


My Godparents were posh. They looked posh, spoke posh, lived posh and ate posh.

Born slightly after the turn of the twentieth century, Mervyn was the son of a doctor who lived and had Rooms on the rather salubrious, leafy, Merrion Square in Dublin’s centre. He and his two sisters were attended to by ‘Staff’, went to the best of schools, enjoyed the Square as their garden and had pet monkeys which, he assured me, were quite common in the Dublin of that time.

Greta was more exotic. Born and raised in Canada, she came with her family to Ireland in her teens. I would meet her later in her life, when she had grown to resemble in face and mannerisms the wonderful English actress, Margaret Rutherford. A marvellous cook, Greta delivered delicious meals and baked like a demon for charities and church events.  Some of the food, like her accent, was a throwback to the British Empire – curried eggs and Kedigree – foods we marvelled at but remained reluctant to taste (put off by the odd colour and spicy smell).

And in between all the posh and foreign nosh, she would take out a griddle. Seeing Greta with all her fine manners, jewellry and clothes cook on a griddle just seemed plain wrong. Even as a child, I felt this implement was best suited to an open fire in a cottage than on a top of the market, gas stove, in their art deco home. And so, I would watch as she cooked Griddle Bread on that contraption until done. It was always delicious but I doubt those who savoured it, would ever believe that Greta cooked it herself on a griddle!

The tripod griddle would be placed on the stove top with the gas on a medium high to heat the cast iron base. She would make the dough and…eh…then…Greta would griddle.

1lb flour
1.5 ounces sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1.5 ounces of melted butter
1/3 pint of full fat milk
1 large egg

1. Combine the dry ingredients
2. Combine the wet ingredients until one liquid
3. Add the wet to the dry and mix thoroughly
4. On a lightly floured board, shape the mix into a cake shape with a flat top
5. Cook on the hot griddle – about 7 minutes each side
6. When cooked, it will have texture of a very large English muffin,

Cutting it into triangles, Greta would divide each again into two. She would spread one side with butter and slather the other with her homemade jam. As I would sit on a stool at her breakfast counter, eating this warm delight, warm butter/jam concoction dripping off the bread and onto my fingers, I would watch as she cleaned the kitchen. The last thing to do was to rub a light coating of oil into the griddle to stop it from rusting before she put it away. And with the kitchen tidied, the griddle would be no more…



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