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.
In my broader investigation into Australian food timelines, I was surprised to discover that I was a post-rationing baby but not by all that many months. After their wedding, my parents lived with dad’s parents and so their ration cards would have been combined. With a small family of just four adults this would have posed far less of a problem than for housewives trying to feed a family of children. Queenslanders would have been better off than those in southern states as, being a tropical area, they wouldn’t have had to deal with limited heating supplies in the cold weather. I always thought mum avoided recipes with many eggs because they were expensive but perhaps it was also a residual effect of the war rationing. It’s also made me wonder if the large rectangular garden in my grandparent’s yard had been a wartime vegetable garden.
Mum loved rhubarb and it was frequently served with ice cream or custard for dessert. She also liked rosella jam, which remains a family favourite. These recipes I’ve inherited combine those food loves. Rosella Jam is my absolute favourite jam but it’s just too much bother to make so I keep an eagle eye out at craft fairs and the like. The other dessert made regularly with rhubarb was rhubarb and apple crumble which I enjoyed, unlike rice pudding which I loathed. Mr Cassmob loathed it more and has a graphic story of a boarding school experience which I’ll protect you from.
Among the Trove discoveries I’ve made is mum’s prize-winning entry in the Australian Women’s Weekly for her Russian Walnut Cake. Okay, it was a consolation prize but I imagine that apart from the kudos, the £1 prize would have been well received.
Our food journey as a married couple was started by Mr Cassmob’s maternal grandmother, who gifted us the popular Robert Carrier cookbook. Having cooked some of the dishes and moved on to other cookbooks, we’ve passed this heirloom on to our eldest daughter who is a true foodie.
Rice these days is an accompaniment to our meals rather than dessert, since neither of us has fond memories of rice puddings. One vegetarian dish we cook is Mushroom Risotto with a diverse range of mushrooms included and shavings of parmesan. Yum!
Grated Rind from citrus fruits remains a delicious addition to both our main meals and also desserts.
NEW FOOD FLAVOURS
Rosemary wasn’t a herb that was used in my childhood home, and sadly is no longer in our current cuisine. While I love the smell, it is now the “kiss of death” for my tummy, so sadly, it has had to be eliminated from anything I eat. You’d be surprised how often something in a restaurant menu will sneak in some rosemary, and of course more so when eating Italian or Greek cuisines. Sigh.
Restaurants aren’t food flavours, of course, but now that we are more likely to eat out, we gain experience with new ingredients and cuisines. At one Italian restaurant in Brisbane we used to enjoy their rabbit ragu…delicious and melt-in-the-mouth.
Have you tried ramen, retsina or radicchio?
Is rosemary one of your favourite herbs?
Did you like or loathe rice pudding as a child?