There are so many ideas wizzing through my head. It’s hard to focus on just one for this blog post. Schools back. YAY! and NAY! Yay to free mornings. Nay to lifts and early mornings, homework, extra murals etc. etc. etc. We really need to redesign the system for us moms. And maybe this is what I should talk about the power of mothers. And I’m not even talking about actual mothers with babies. But the whole energy behind being a woman with the potential to mother. That whole nurturing, building part of ourselves. Which is so resilient, strong and persistent.

Resilient in facing the unknown – just like with pregnancy. Strong in enduring whatever has to be done for what we need to create and do – like giving birth (and boy do you have to be strong). And persistent, consistent to keep going day in day out. Even when the results aren’t clear, even when there’s no tangible reward. How else would you describe bringing up children? No wonder women are considered more spiritual. Because as I type this out I’m thinking that this is exactly what it’s like to be a soul in this world. This is the story of being human.

We don’t know what will be tomorrow,  but we live for today. We do things day in day out unsure of what the end really is. We have no idea what lies on the other side of life but we trust and we toil and we go on. There are no clear rewards for this life. There isn’t anything physical, as far as I know, on the other side. As women we brush with this every day. As mothers we live it. So we’re that much closer to existential crisis and solutions I suppose.

Do men search as much as women do? Some… But they won’t talk about it like women. For a lot of them, especially those cut off from heart wisdom it’s about the facts, rational, logical proofs. Life doesn’t work like that. Even science isn’t completely rational and logical. We need the emotional aspect, which most women have. Which is the feminine.

And so yes I’ve been thinking about the feminine a lot. No don’t sigh. (Although I myself just gave a big sigh – almost as if I’m tired of all this thinking.) And I’m not talking feminism here. In brief I love the equality I have with men, but I don’t love the legacy of having to be like a man that they’ve left. No femininity which I associate with my grandmother who had eight children. She wasn’t beaten or bowed by having eight children (as I most certainly would be). She didn’t buckle being exiled from Iraq and having to flee to Israel in 1952 in dire circumstances. She didn’t flounder moving to Australia twenty years later. She just kept cooking through it. Nurturing her eight children and her husband. And life was not easy….

How did she do it? I ask myself often. I find it so hard to keep up the nurturing. I’m striving for the feminist ideal of being a career women equal to man. But in that quest I put down my very best qualities which I’ve inherited from her. That of the matriarch. To keep a home and family together no matter what. To be that staunch lighthouse which gives food to the stomach and soul. The food of love and the food of cuba bamya (a delicious meat dumpling stew with okra).

I don’t make cuba bamya. It takes too long and in truth I don’t make it so well. But I do want to be that lighthouse. I do want to stay true to the feminine, but a little voice in me squeaks that I don’t even know what the feminine really is. The feminine has been stripped. And the word that comes to mind is rape – which is very dramatic I know. But these are thoughts. And what comes to mind too is all the depression that exists around us women. From mild to severe. If we were rejoicing in the feminine. If we were all sitting at my grandmother’s table at the light house, would it be different?

And to get back to my introduction about mothers and extra murals and getting back to the feminine. I don’t think the intuitive feminine would encourage the school system that exists for our children. That doesn’t recognise the need for individuality and hence they’re all marked together like a school of fish. (I urge you all to see Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk on, do schools kill our children’s creativity?) This isn’t any one person’s fault, it’s a structural fallacy. And it’s not designed by women. I have lots of ideas on how it could be and I’ve made a note to do a post on that. I don’t think the feminine would encourage us to try to mold the ‘perfect’ child either….and definitely get rid of the idea of being the ‘perfect mother.’

Anyhow I’m searching… I’m also by the way searching for the perfect muffin. (Any good recipes welcome.) So far I flopped the muffins last week with no sugar, but I was more successful this week with nutty carrot muffins, which I’m recording below. (Maybe because I put the brown sugar like the recipe instructed.) There’s definitely something nurturing about baking. Making salads somehow doesn’t do it for me… if only it did. These actually taste a bit like a nutty biscuit my granmother used to make. It reminded me of it as I ate it – especially because my sugar was too hard and I was biting into sugar… memories.

So here’s the recipe below.

Gluten Free Nutty Carrot Muffins with DIVINE Cream Cheese Topping

(Makes 10)

1/3 Cup Rice Flour

1/3 Cup Corn Flour (Maizena for you South Africans. I’ll never forget being at Pick n Pay when I first arrived and saying to one of the staff, ‘I don’t understand it how can you not have corn flour?’ Eventually she understood that corn was maize – which I didn’t know.)

2 Tbsn Mixed Spice

2 tspn Baking Powder

1 tspn Baking Soda

2 Cups Almond Meal (I just crushed almonds in the magimix)

1 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I used hard brown sugar and it didn’t melt it was very crunchy. You could also maybe substitute with agave nectar. I haven’t tried that though.)

2 Carrots grated

2/3 Cup Walnuts (90 grams) chopped

4 Eggs separated

Cream Cheese Frosting

250 grams Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Icing Sugar (I used Castor Sugar which was fine)

1 Tbsp Orange Juice

 

Method

Preheat oven 160C (325 F).

Sift rice flour, cornstarch, mixed spice, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Stir in almond meal, sugar, carrot, half the walnuts and all the egg yolks; mix well.

Using electric mixer, in a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. lightly fold into almond and carrot mixture.

Spoon evenly into cases to two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer (or toothpick) inserted in the center of a cupcake tests clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make cream cheese frosting. Beat cream cheese, sugar and orange juice, until well combined. Chill before using. Spread over cooled muffins. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts.