Delicious Desserts and Drinks


Once again I’m participating in the A to Z challenge – I think this is my sixth time. This year I’m having a retrospective look of family foods and favourites in my childhood and comparing it to today’s family food fare.

Family Food Fare and Favourites

Join me as I dig through my memories, and recipes, to rediscover my family’s food “back in the day” and how those food habits have changed over the decades to today’s diverse and multi-cultural cuisines.

THEN

By now you will have gathered that sweet things were popular in our house. I can’t recall ever not having dessert with our main meal – I suspect mum would have felt like a major omission if it wasn’t available. Sometimes it would be simple: custard or jelly with fruit but often it would be a very tempting sweet dessert like a tart, pudding, flummery or similar.

Drinks seems to have been different for many families. Tea would often be served with dinner, but not at our place. Dad did drink tea a little and my grandmother would occasionally pour me a milky tea when I jumped the fence to her place. However, our normal dinner drink would be milk or water. Dad didn’t take up coffee for quite a while – like a lot of the population – but it was his drink of choice in his later decades.

Dad rarely drank beer (both his mother and mine disapproved). It wasn’t until much later on, that he would have a beer while watching the football with Mr Cassmob, or even a duty free whisky we’d brought back from PNG. We had a funny incident one day while the three of us were watching the rugby in the lounge. I think mum was miffed with us for being absorbed by the game, so she came in and wiped down, and moved, the coffee tables beside the chairs. Dad was so focused on the match that he just put the glass down on the table that had been there….whoops!

NOW

Both desserts and drinks have been two major changes in our household. While desserts are rolled out for dinner parties (remember those?) or special events, they aren’t a day-to-day item on our food list.

Drinks habits certainly changed once we married and we were living in PNG. Like Mr Cassmob’s parents we would have a very civilised sundowner each evening. Our trips back and forth to Australia involved buying a range of duty-free alcohol. No PNG dinner party could occur without a range of spirits or wine being offered, before, during and after the meal.

We gave that away when the family was younger, but retirement has again brought out the evening tipple, wine being the favourite these days.

One thing I’d forgotten was a food import we would get from my parents at Christmas. They would send up a case of delicious fresh peaches. Yes, they were delicious to eat, but they certainly added a certain style to our Christmas drinks with Peach Daiquiris.

It was Mr Cassmob and the post-war Italian immigration that brought me over to coffee which I still enjoy, though I now drink decaf…to which youngest daughter says “why bother?”

New Food Fare: Dragonfruit which we first discovered in Darwin. A tropical fruit, it’s very tasty and colourful with its pink interior, making it an attractive addition to fruit salads or a fruit platter.

What drinks were served at meal times when you were young and what happens now? Are/were desserts popular in your family? Did you mother cook with dripping from a metal container beside the stove?

The meringue cake we’ve had a few times for Xmas, edited for diet restrictions. Unfortunately I don’t know which magazine it came from – possibly Gourmet Traveller.

15 thoughts on “Delicious Desserts and Drinks

  1. We always drank water with meals when I was young. Special occasions like Christmas we would have lemonade or non-alcoholic apple cider. Wine has certibly changed over the years. I remember my grandparents drinking moselle or riesling in the 1970s : Blue Nun, Black Tower or Ben Ean or sometimes Mateus rose.

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    1. How we drink has certainly changed I think. I still associate lemonade with being sick and won’t drink it any other time. Yes, those wine names are familiar to me as well. Now we have such diverse wine types and tastes.

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  2. You are on a winner talking about food! We always had dessert. It was usually rice pudding or bread and jam pudding or some sort of pasta pudding (vermicelli). With that we ate the preserved plums, peaches and apples from our garden. My parents drank beer but mainly on Friday night in the local hotel’s beer garden while I had a raspberry and lemonade. I think I drank water with meals. It was never milk because my mother had an aversion to it. The adults drank Barossa Pearl at Christmas. My mother drank black instant coffee with lemon!

    I love the story about the tables being moved. My husband’s grandparents were strict Methodists but the attitude to drinking has changed. Now every celebration requires a glass of wine, even making it to 5 o’clock in the evening.

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    1. Yep, making to yardarm o’clock merits a drink 😉 Freshly preserved fruit would have been a delicious accompaniment to the dessert. Funnily enough we never had bread and butter (or jam) pudding, I wonder why?

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  3. I love desserts. As a child, I grew up, with tarts, crumbles, and steamed puddings. Lemon Meringue Pie was my favourite. I hated milk puddings – at school dinners we called tapioca frog spawn. But my father had to have his rice puddings every Sunday lunch. Now dessert at lunchtime is either yoghurt or fresh fruit , and at teatime is another fruit based dessert – stewed fruit, trifle, fruit crumble etc. But the best desserts I have had have been in Bavaria and Austria – absolutely delicious to look at and to eat. I do like the sound of your Coconut Meringue Cake – yummy!

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    1. I’m a sweet-tooth too Susan. I really disliked rice puddings – the texture I think – but I had to eat it just the same. We rarely do a proper dessert these days, but keep an eye out for H and L 😉 I love the Italian windows set up for Christmas and Easter, and yes, the German, Austrian and French…you see what I mean…sweet tooth.

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    1. I think it actually backfired because we knew she was cranky but we just kept watching the rugby and she cleaned it up. Glad you found it funny because it’s one of our funny tall tales 😉 Mum loved rhubarb too but I wasn’t a 100%fan. I’ve been thinking I should try it a an adult.

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  4. Linda is right. You are on a winner with food dear Pauleen. Ah yes dessert. My mother was so good at making meals and she never failed on dessert. Dad is pretty good at making beautiful desserts too. Linda reminded me of rice pudding too. Yum. Dessert nowadays is icecream if you’re lucky in this house. I must stop eating the icecream! Drinks. Well I was introduced to wine from about the age of 14 I think in our house. I think it was part of my parent’s plan to make me aware of what it can do in a safe environment. My parents always had a sherry or a G and T before dinner and then a wine during dinner. At Christmas we’d go crazy and have Cold Duck, I think it was called. Now we have prosecco or champagne. We discovered the Aunt Jane’s Tipsy Trifle recipe in some Hamlyn book 100 years of Australian cooking or some such. A guaranteed party ice-breaker that one. Lots of sherry. I like the sound of your Xmas dessert. Thank you for all the recipes.

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    1. Glad you’re having fun Alex. Dessert here might be a ice cream stick…I try to abstain but my waist says otherwise. Sweets of any sort are my downfall. We used to do that with our kids and wine too. I’d forgotten Cold Duck. LOL re the trifle 🙂 Let me know if you’d like me to send the Xmas dessert recipe.

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  5. Living in a house with a Diabetic I missed out on desserts. Mum kept me satisfied with jelly, stewed and tinned fruit and ice-cream and flavouring.

    I didn’t learn about wine until my late teens. As newlyweds we drank on special occasions Ben Ean, Sparkling Porphyry Pear, Mateus Rose and Liebfraumilch. When Chateau de Cardboard appeared it was a great boon for the budget and made the drinking of wine more accessible. Brandy Alexanders and Harvey Wallbengers were the cocktails of choice. I still love a Harvey Wallbanger.

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    1. Apart from the desserts that all sounds so familiar. I think we drank more spirits, and like you, chateau de cardboard….but no more. I used to drink Brandy Alexanders but have never had a Harvey Wallbanger.

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  6. So many memories here and also in the comments. i think we have probably eaten and drunk most of the things mentioned over the years. No more desserts in our house at this stage of our lives except with a very prolific lime tree have actually made Key Lime Pie a couple of times. Loving your recipes, had forgotten about Harvey Wallbangers that Jill mentioned :)) Our most common dessert when fruit was out of season or the pantry stocks of Vacola preserved fruit were running low, was good old white bread piled high with homemade jam and lashings of thick farm cream. We would watch Dad to see how much he could fit on a piece of bread and if he could get it to his mouth before some of the very thick cream fell off. Fond memories indeed.

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    1. I smiled at your story about your dad. Mum would ask dad if he wanted custard, cream or ice cream to which his answer was always “yes please”. My kids remember it well. Interesting again to see how farm life differed from city life with preserves etc. I need to plant another lime tree though the Kaffir lime does well but of course not for juice.

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