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. This is my theme for the 2021 A to Z challenge.
The J foods that come to mind from my childhood, are once again desserts: jelly and junket. Is junket even around anymore I wondered? I checked out the Woolworths online catalogue and junket tablets are indeed still available. Who knew?! (For US readers, our jelly is different from American jelly which seems to be a type of clear jam)
Jelly of course reaches its style peak, layered in trifles or the parfaits that were popular in my youth. Parfaits were made in a tall glass with layers of fresh or tinned fruit, jelly, custard and cream, perhaps with a jaunty crisp biscuit in the top. I suppose they weren’t dissimilar to a sundae. For something that was once so popular, I can’t find an image that really shows how they looked. I suspect that many households will have remnants of the family’s collection of parfait glasses. In the “now” era they’ve been reinvented more as a health option that dessert, using fresh fruit, yoghurt and chia seeds or similar. The key ingredient of jelly has disappeared.
I remember that mum used to make a jam slice with a coconut topping which was very nice and which is still commonly seen in cafes even today. I found her recipe tucked away under “Raspberry Slice” where the raspberry ingredient is jam.
Another food that’s transitioned from then to now is jaffles. We would have had them cooked over the gas flame at home but in the “now” scenario it’s something we cook while camping. Both of us remember having a discussion with some Americans at dinner in Kathmandu and trying to explain the concept. Yes, they’re similar to a toasted sandwich, or toastie, but they’re “same, same but different”. I was affronted to discover that one food page suggests it’s an African thing but further research claims it as an Aussie invention. Ours looks exactly like the one pictured in the story. When camping, jaffles are delicious filled with baked beans, tinned spaghetti or leftover mince and cooked over a campfire.
Biscuit slices remain popular over the decades and a one that holds an emotional and culinary place in our family’s heart is the Lemon Layer Slice by our friend Dawn. It is so tied to memories of her bringing it to gatherings that we call it “Dawn’s Famous Jelly Slice”.
Did your family have parfaits when you were younger?
Do you still have any parfait glasses?
Have you cooked jaffles over an open fire?