When thinking of mothers and daughters, I think of  oranges and coffee. Oranges recall childhood days with my mother and coffee recalls intimate talks with my daughters. SO. Let’s first pour ourselves a coffee with a snack while we ready ourselves for stepping into the relationships of mothers and their daughters.

As young girl, my mother regularly peeled an orange and then broke it in half, one half for me, the other for her…and another orange…peel…one half for me…one half for her…It continued this way even after I have become a mother myself. So I decided these sugared orange strips would be a fitting accompaniment to the endless cups of coffee and girl talk I have had(and still have) with my daughters over the years.


  • Let the peel  strips cool down in the syrup before dipping them in the sugar.
  • They can be dipped in melted chocolate instead(or as well)
  • Store them in a cool and dry place.
  • Use as decorations on cakes or desserts.
  • Use also lemon and grape fruit peel
  • Try and use biological fruit.
  • Always wash and dry the fruit before using.

I came across a lovely book which was the trigger for these pondering thoughts: Histoire des mères et filles, by Gabrielle Houbre. (The history of mothers and daughters) (Editions de la Martinière). It covers social paradoxes, intimate journals, choosing husbands, the role of the grandmother, motherhood judged by the law and the public, and beautiful images, paintings and drawings.  I enjoyed the history of this special relationship through the decades, comparing it with what we have today in our contemporary world, seeing how much it had changed, yet how much it is still the same..

Histoires des mères et filles.

…alice in wonderland, 1879, (george dunlop leslie)…

“…God, You who can do everything, give me the strength to make my family happy, You can do with me as You wish, I belong to You. You know how hard I work: keep me from evil, and save me from mine. Mother! Mother! Please come to me. Speak to me! I am suffering!…” Laure Frémont, 17 years old, Journal, Besancon.

  1. left: edith kingdon gould et sa fille marjorie, 1903(Théodore mace)…
  2. right: mme collas et sa fille gisélle, 1903 (théobald chartran)…


  1. left: c’est ma fille monsieur”(it is my daughter, sir)…
  2. right: chagrin d’amour, 1908 (ferdinand von reznicek) – “don’t be so unhappy from love, my child, it will ruin your complexion!!”


“Je t’embrasse ma chérie, de tout mon coeur. Mais ne perds pas ton temps! Les consignes, les punitions, les réprimandes, les bouderies, les rancunes, tout ca c’est du temps gâché. La vie est si courte…De tout mon coeur je suis Ta Maman et ton amie, Colette”. (I embrace you my darling, with all my heart. Don’t waste your time!  all the instructions, the punishments, the reprimands, moods and resentments are a waste of time. Life is so short…With all my heart I am your mother and your friend, Colette.) Letters from Colette to her daughter, 1916-1953)

  1. left: Mme Vigée-Lebrun et sa fille Jeanne Lucie Louise dite Julie, 1789(Elizabeht Vigée-Lebrun)…
  2. right: Soins tyranniques, 1840 (Frédéric Bouchot) ” – ” Chère enfant, tu es en âge de te marier, l’agitation de ton esprit, tes émotions inquètes et vagues; tout m’annonce que ton coeur s’éanouit…J’ai fait pour toi le choix d’un èpoux qui te rendras[sic] heureuse”(dear child, you are of age to be married, your agitation, your nervousness, your emotional spirit; all tells me that your heart is blooming…I made a choice of husband for you who will make [sic]you happy).


As for my own two daughters …each phase was wonderful. Sometimes hard and sometimes tiring, difficult and challenging. But still wonderful. I think I learnt more from them than I taught them in these past  22 and 24 years. I learnt acceptance, patience(a lot!). I learnt about honesty, humility, I learnt that hope is a neccessary part of each day. I learnt that you can’t have daughters without a sense of humour. I learnt to understand, or at least to make an affort to understand. I learnt to be strong when I wanted to be weak. I learnt to move on when I wanted to rest. I learnt about history and chemistry and architecture and tennis and biology and sex education. I learnt about broken hearts and tantrums and slammed doors and locked away journals.  I learnt that gentlesness goes a far way. I learn that too much kindness can lead to disappointment. I learnt that discipline gives security. I learnt that giving love is more rewarding than receiving. I learnt that no sadness or hurt or disappointment can break this love.

…mère et filles…

Now, as they have become young women, I look onto them with pride and love. I can’t do it any other way. Is it perfect…our mother/daughter relationship? Far from! I irritate them. They work on my nerves. They mess up my kitchen. Thjey find me”high maintenance”. They make pasta this way. I make mine that way. I ask too many questions, they tell me too little.  They don’t make their beds. I make mine too perfect. I yell at them.  They ignore me. They get angry with me.  I get upset with them…..is it perfect? This relationship of ours? Of course it is! It is as it should be! They have become individuals.  They have grown into human beings…funny, witty(sometimes too much!), intelligent(every now and then!) , caring, wise(sometimes?), cute, understanding, accepting…Time has forced us all to grow into human beings. We are friends. But first and foremost, we are mère et fille.


18 thoughts on “Crystallized orange strips and mothers and daughters.

  1. oh what a beautiful post from top to bottom… yes, i am just as enchanted with you as the divine miss m! of course your book tie in makes my heart flutter, i love seeing visual links in books and life. oh, how i would love you to join in food for thought~

    beautiful thoughts on your girls too, i am thrilled to peek into your wonderful life. your pictures are stunning, i think i better make these oranges today, they are too pretty not to admire up close, i am lucky enough to pluck them fresh from the tree~


  2. Sweet, sweet. I do not have children, but this sounds like the relationship my Mom, sister and I have and the one my sister has with her two daughters. You, I am sure, are a fantastic, fun mom!
    The orange sticks always remind me of my grandmother as we always had them at her house.
    Thanks for sharing a peek into your life with us.
    xo ~ Dana


  3. How beautiful is a mother-daughter relationship, Ronelle. I can see myslef in everything you described. My daughter is only 4 years old but I think I have already experienced some of the frustrations, differences, and most importantly unconditional love. It truly is a perfect relationship despite all its imperfections. We grow, we learn and experience so much with our children. It is magical. Thank you for an inspiring post.




  4. Where was I Feb 18th when you posted this ?

    I just found it late late this afternoon on our way out to see our”filles” etc..I left the page open and we have just come home..I didn’t want to rush my reply.
    I wanted to tell you i love the collage ..I made it bigger to SEE more..

    Love your thoughts on Mother Daughter relationships..the tip re the book.. you coffees and oranges.. Isn’t the book cover beautiful?

    I cry when I get my birthday cards from my daughters:)

    Sometimes they were cute and funny when they were growing up..now they are tender.
    You have it down pat:)

    I am sorry I missed the published date.
    But here I am..way past my bedtime:)


  5. Ronelle, my little one is only 9 and sometimes I want her to stay the same, but I know growing up is inevitable. I will cherish your advise and make enough orange peel so that we can many of these mom and daughter moments…..great post, well done!!!


  6. Ronell ~ I tried several time to respond to your email, but they are returned saying your email is recognizing mine as spam! So sorry!
    Thanks for stopping by!
    xo ~ Dana


  7. Sounds like something I would like to try to take to my Bible study, but what is oragne flower water?


  8. J’ai juste deux fils mais nous sommes très proches aussi … Nous, on adore bavarder en rentrant le soir devant une bonne tasse de thé et quelques biscuits, en se racontant notre journée. C’est chaleureux et très agréable … Cela dit, café et orangettes me conviennent très bien aussi !


  9. Hi Irene Thank you for your visit… Orange flower water(or orange blossom water) is a flavoured water, in this case orange blossoms which is mainly used in desserts, or salads.It is usually natural extactions from the oils of the blossoms. You also get a rose water, which follows the same distilled process with the essential oil extraxtiosn from rose petals. It is frequently used in Marocco and other middle eatersn and northern African countries and for example in Turkish delights, to gently flavour the candy/desserts candies and even meat dishes and some vegetable dishes. By adding it to some orange desserts, you get that summer/blossom/oranges aroma and taste. It does make a real subtle, gentle difference to some ordinary desserts or pastries. It can be bought online, or at middle eastern stores…her in France, it is quite readily avalailable everywhere. I’m attaching an online sit e for you so you can get an idea of how it looks etc… I hope you will like the orange strips…if you make them…and even consider dipping one side of each strip maybe in chocolate instead of sugar…delicious too!!

    Good luck! Ronelle


  10. thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts about mothers and daughters. i liked it so much i forwarded it on to several friends, and of course, ma mere.

    your blog always put me in a peaceful frame of mind 🙂


  11. Hi Ronelle, I tagged you to play a game of tag about your top three favorite places. Check my post from yesterday for details.

    Have a great evening!



  12. Your posts are absolutely awesome! Really, really beautiful…you must have been French in all your previous lives to acquire such style!

    Ronell, please look at my comment on your other blog re the handmade paper I saw.


  13. Oh Ronell, what a beautiful post – reminds me of my late mom and the wonderful, contradictory, loving relationship we shared. Cherish every moment with your daughters. I loved it when my mom peeled oranges for me. I even had a name for them: “Mamma, ek wil nie ‘n gewone lemoen hê nie, ek wil ‘n duimgeskilde lemoen hê!”


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