A BABY IN THE OVEN
July 12 1915
A true story...
Régina is out picking wild strawberries with her friends. She is very concentrated on her strawberry patch. She is also very pregnant. Seven months pregnant. She hears noise nearby. She doesn't pay attention, thinking it's her friends.
The noise gets louder. She looks up: a bear is standing right in front of her! She takes to her heels and runs back home more than a kilometer away. That evening, she gives birth to her first child, a tiny baby girl. My mother, Berthe Malo.
The doctor comes to the house, announces that the baby will not survive, picks up his little doctor's bag and heads out the door.
My grandmother doesn't give up that easily. She covers her little premature baby with olive oil, wraps her in a blanket and places her in the woodstove's oven where it's nice and warm.
My mother came out of the oven alive and well! Big-boned and strong, she lived to the honourable age of 96, raised four children and had a long and successful career as a teacher. She was also an EXCELLENT cook*. Could it be because she spent the first days of her life in an oven ???
If, on the night of July 12 1915 my grandmother hadn't put her baby in the oven, I wouldn't be here to share this incredible story with you.
* For many years, my mother Berthe Malo-Tanguay had a recipe column in the Hearst local newspaper LE NORD, whose editor-in-chief was my brother Paul for many years. In 1981 Paul published my mom's cookbook La boîte à recettes through his own publishing house Les Éditions Boréales. My father revised the text and I designed the layout. A family affair! La boîte à recettes was reprinted by Les Cantinales in Hearst Ontario in 2008.