Chapter 1 : Molly's Wish
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Molly made her first cake when she was six. She'd always watched her mother, fascinated by the process which turned eggs, butter and flour into a cake, or sugar into hard nuggets of golden toffee.
On one particular day, Molly's brothers hadn't let her join in their game because she was too short; so she retreated to her usual spot in the kitchen, where her mother was busy with pots and pans. Molly sat upon a low stool near where her mother was working. She watched, and her mother looked at her and smiled.
'Molly, would you like to help me?' She handed Molly a wooden spoon, smaller than her own and more easily handled by Molly's small child's hands.
That afternoon, spent whisking and whipping and stirring and mixing, delighted her as the raw ingredients changed under her careful ministrations and transformed into works of sweet and delectable art.
A week later, Molly made her first batch of biscuits; and a week after that a pie filled with bright fruits and thick cream. She loved the intensity of the colour of the fruits against the soft white of the cream underneath: to her they looked like jewels, and were prettier than real ones.
By the time Molly turned nine, she was extremely able in the kitchen and would often make many desserts by herself. When her grandparents would visit, she would sit with her grandmother for hours as she related recipes and Molly would scribble them down as her grandmother spoke, desperately capturing every nuance of the process that her grandmother described. Later, she would copy it out onto her special paper and file it in an album she dedicated solely to recipes. Once she had made the dessert, she would write a paragraph underneath detailing what it was like, the particularly difficult steps in the instructions, and possible improvements and variations she could try.
When Molly was 13, her mother handed over responsibility to her only daughter, and Molly took great pride in creating masterpieces for her family; she loved to see their faces when they saw her latest creation and the satisfied utterances of appreciation when they tasted it.
She would still cook with her mother, and it was those times that she most enjoyed.
'I hope I have a daughter when I'm grown, ' she sighed on one of these occasions to her mother, when Molly was nine and proficient in baking.
'Why?' her mother enquired.
'So that I can spend hours with her in the kitchen and teach her to bake. Like you and me.'
Molly kept her file of recipes throughout her whole school career, and was constantly added to. Many of the recipes, written years ago in her childish scrawling hand, were rewritten and refiled. It was Molly's most treasured possession.
When she married Arthur Weasley, her first crush and only love, and they bought their first house together, it was her book of recipes that Molly unpacked last of all, and placed it in the kitchen cupboard, ready to be used and consulted to cook for her family.
She gave birth a few years later to her first child, a boy. A few years later, another child was born, another boy. The years went past and Molly's family grew steadily; she was always cooking something and each of her sons had a favourite; Bill, her eldest, loved strawberry tart, the treat as sweet as his soft spoken personality. The twins unanimously voted for anything with chocolate, the ingredient as versatile as them - sometimes subtle and soft, other times strong and commanding.
But none of her sons showed the same interest in cooking as herself; Charlie came closest, often keeping her company in the kitchen and chattering good-naturedly. But he didn't like the waiting; his favourite recipes were those that were ready soon after preparation.
Then finally Molly had a daughter, just when she had reconciled herself to a life without one, a life happily devoting herself her boys; a tiny baby girl was presented to Molly and placed in her arms. As she held her, Molly felt a happiness deeper than any in her life; of course she loved her sons, more than she felt could even be possible; but in this little girl, lying here in her arms and snuffling gently, was the culmination of everything Molly had hoped for since she was only a young girl herself.
As Ginny grew, and displayed features and characteristics so similar to Molly's own - the same warm brown eyes and fiery red hair, and temper to match - Molly's heart always swelled with pride. She counted herself lucky to have been given a daughter, this most precious of gifts made all the more dear by its unexpectedness and seeming improbability.
When Ginny took an interest in cooking, Molly was over the moon. Ginny showed the same delight in watching as she created miracles from raw materials as Molly herself had had all those years ago. Ginny loved seeing her hands form these marvels.
When Ginny was nearly six, she made her first cake.
At ten, she was clever with the ingredients and was skilled in the kitchen.
When she turned 13, Molly gave Ginny many of the baking responsabilities.
There was only one thing left for Molly to do.
On Ginny's special day, the day Miss Ginevra Weasley became Mrs H Potter, Molly presented her with her treasured file of recipes. Altered and improved over the years, it had become battered and well-thumbed; but the gesture was not lost on Ginny. She knew how special it was to her mother, and her simple 'thank you' was full of meaning. She understood what a wrench it was for her mother to hand it over to her; she realised the love and pride that the giving of this present meant.
Years later, Ginny too gave birth to a baby girl, the youngest of her three children; much the same as Molly. As Lily grew, she too developed the same passion for baking and cooking that ran in her mother and grandmother. When Molly sat with her youngest grandchild, discussing recipes, she was happier than she would ever have believed possible.