It’s funny how sometimes something as functional and as mundane as a trifle bowl can suddenly take on a whole new meaning and just make you pause and think.
Like most families, trifle has been a staple part of any gatherings over a number of years. Both our parents – well our dads to be honest – and other members of the family (Nick Hunt we mean you) love it, and even when birthday cakes and other desserts were on offer, somewhere on the table you could always find trifle in some form or another.
And there were plenty of forms too. Some with jelly, some without, sherry or not? And what about blancmange? And then what fruit do you put in – a straight forward strawberry only recipe or a fruit cocktail - but what about the sponge – ladies fingers or chopped up swiss roll? Talk about difficult choices!
But whatever your preference it needs a receptacle. Something to serve this magnificent concoction in.
Step forward the trifle bowl.
We’re not sure when trifle bowls changed in design. If you Google trifle bowl these days the vast majority are plain glass affairs, no doubt functional but lacking in any sense of glamour and grandeur.
We’re lucky in that we have inherited our grandparents’ trifle bowls – great hefty, substantial, cut-glass beasts that you feel like you could be there for hours filling up with ingredients. Viv has had hers for a good number of years and this year after we lost dad, mum passed on her mum’s bowl, the trifle bowl of choice in my family for decades, which we used this year on our Christmas table.
Now you’re probably wondering what on earth this is about. But just think about this for a minute. That trifle dish that we used on our family table in 2018 is being used for the exact same purpose it was bought for all those years ago. It hasn’t been altered in any way. It will have been handled by generations of our family. Think of the conversations, the fun, the jokes and good times that it will have been privy to just sat there on a table surrounded by people. After use my grandma will have washed it and no doubt my grandad will have probably been relaxing, stomach full, his pipe either lit or busy preparing it, tapping in his tobacco.
It may be a humble piece of glass and may only be used every so often but there’s not that many things around in our house that are still going strong after such a long time of use. And one too with such strong physical connections to those we have known and loved and now sadly no longer with us as well as those who passed before we were born and never knew….
So to finish this little seasonal meander through our families' histories a quick timelapse piece showing off Grandma's trifle bowl with what it was designed for.
Life and other