Walnuts, Waffles and Wine


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.

THEN

One thing that stands out for me from my childhood is Welsh Rarebit. It was such a tasty addition to toast, and yet it has gone the way of the ark in our house. It’s not as if we eat any similar pre-made food, I guess we just substitute cheese.

Mum’s Welsh Rarebit recipe.

There are a few W foods that come together as part of the family’s Christmas celebrations. Walnuts were always on the table on the big day, ready to be cracked and the “meat” excavated. Of course, you just had to have a plate of White Christmas for post-meal snacking, visitors coming by, or as a hostess gift. This became a cross-generational food as it’s such an easy thing for little people to make. At Christmas, and any other time we had roast chicken, you had a competition for who would get to pull the wishbone and the one with the biggest part got a wish.

A delicious gift of White Christmas as promoted by Woolworths shopping.

 Watermelon may not have made it on the celebratory table, but it’s intrinsically linked to a Queensland Christmas when the melons are at their best – bright pink/red and crispy-crunchy. 

One thing that was never on my family’s Christmas table was wine. Our home was almost, but not quite, teetotal. At Christmas dad was permitted to sneak in a “tallie” beer and have a couple of drinks. Mum tolerated it but his mother was not amused if he was seen with beer. Once we lived in PNG and had access to duty free on a regular basis, dad come to thoroughly enjoy his whisky tipple.

Do you remember how, as a child, a bowl of ice cream while out town would come with those crunchy wafer biscuits stuck jauntily in the top of the scoop?

NOW

What did you have for breakfast as a child? I think we mainly had either cornflakes or porridge but sometimes we had Weetbix and that has become a multi-generational breakfast. It’s an economical way to feed teenagers and it’s quite astounding what a growing lad can put away in numbers of Weetbix!

From my recipe collection.

Waffles are another treat that have crossed generations. We used to have them fairly regularly when our girls were young but somewhere along the way they disappeared off the menu and the electric waffle maker headed off to a daughter. We did have waffles occasionally when out and about in my youth, with ice cream and that wafer biscuit. One of the waffle recipes I have is from one of mum’s friends. However, it’s the sauces that go on the ice cream that really make a difference to the taste.

Waffles anyone? Image from Pixabay.

NEW FOOD FARE

It’s now almost inconceivable to not have a nice wine with a good meal. Australia is making so many wonderful world-quality wines that the choice is yours. Over the years I’ve rotated through the ones I prefer to drink and mostly stay with one type for a while. I like to remember that the emigrants from my great-great grandfather’s Bavarian village came to Australia as part of the plan to cultivate a wine industry. Oral history from his granddaughter also tells me he grew Isabella grapes on his farm and made his own wine. A link with my family history.

We recently won a fine-dining experience with matched wines at a restaurant in Brisbane. What a treat!

Wontons have come onto our adult menu, with in Chinese restaurants or even at home. They’re fiddly to make but they can be delicious like the steamed seafood wantons I’ve made.

As sushi has made it onto the “fast food” snack list when out at the shopping centre, it comes with wasabi and sliced ginger. Despite my love for spicy things, I can only take a small dose of wasabi before my eyes water but I do love the ginger.

Water chestnuts were probably something we ate when we had Chinese meals even in my youth, but I certainly had no knowledge of them, or awareness of their existence.

Did you or your family eat Weetbix for breakfast?

Were walnuts and wine on your celebratory table?

Have waffles, icecream and wafer biscuits been a family treat at your house?


22 thoughts on “Walnuts, Waffles and Wine

  1. Seeing the welsh rarebit recipe was interesting – we weren’t so fancy. We just toasted one side of the bread and then put cheese on the other side and grilled until the cheese started to brown. The other was the reference to a round of toast. I had to ask what that was when I moved to Queensland and the other idiosyncrasy to Qld I found was calling a sandwich made with two slices of bread 4 sandwiches. In our teenage years my best friend and i came up from Sydney on a working holiday. Her boss sent her to buy lunch and his order was 8 ham and salad sandwiches. She came back with 8 sandwiches =16 slices of bread wondering how on earth he could eat that much for lunch. 🙂

    As a child I don’t really remember what I had for breakfast regularly – I know I ate rice bubbles or cornflakes with banana on top or porridge if it wasn’t lumpy, occasionally I might have been allowed, but not encouraged, to have coco pops but as a teenager I had lamb loin chops and left over veggies most mornings. Lamb was cheap then and I was as skinny as a rake – maybe I should go back to that 🙂

    I don’t think I ate watermelon until I moved here – not sure whether Mum just didn’t buy them or they weren’t available. We used to buy from the local green grocer then.I remember it and ice blocks being traditional Xmas break up day fare at my children’s primary school.

    Until recently I would never have any wine with anything – it all tasted like vinegar to me. I have found one that I don’t mind now but it is still, like all alcohol for me, a take it or leave it affair.

    Still loving the memories – very good for future blogs about close family.

    Lyn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How interesting about the sandwiches in Qld. I would have understood the four sangers but only asked for one. I guess it went with that whole “cut into triangles” thing. I had to laugh though…how did the boss keep a straight face?!

      Weren’t coco pops a treat when we did manage to get them.

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  2. Wasabi! The first time I tried it I thought it was avocado. You can imagine the explosion in my head.
    Waffles and ice cream were a treat in the city when I was young.
    I still eat a cholesterol lowering weet bix for breakfast with some muesli, yoghurt and fruit on top.
    If you have read my blog you will see wine is mentioned a lot. I didn’t drink much when I was younger but a wine in the evening is very habit forming and usually accompanies dinner in our house.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Watermelon- Christmas Holidays School Break-up day in the 1950’s – the first taste of the watermelon season and as much. Our family then went from Brisbane to our holiday cabin “Weona” at 11 Arthur St Kings Beach for 6 weeks. First stop was the Black & White Fruit Shop owned by Harry Liekefett in Bulcock Street Caloundra, where our father would choose the watermelons to be put ‘on hold’. One was collected each weekend when our father returned from his week’s work in Brisbane. There were no small round melons like today – they were oblong and only came in ‘large’, ‘extra large’ and ‘huge’. How we loved the holidays – sun, surf, watermelon and soft drinks from the wooden crate we had from the factory in Ormuz St Caloundra.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fab memories Roz. No wonder you’re a true Caloundra person. Yep, large, extra large and huge. I don’t think we had watermelon for break up as you’d expect that to stick in my mind. Maybe the nuns were too parsimonious.

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  4. Hello Pauleen – First sentence should read…
    Christmas Holidays School Break-up day in the 1950’s – the first taste of the watermelon season and as much as we could eat.
    Roz

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  5. Yum…another great post! My grandfather always got a bag of mixed nuts in their shell at Christmas — then sat and cracked them open. Walnuts were my favorite. We also did the wishbone breaking (drying it out for a day or two for a good crack). By the way, I found a Pineapple Biscuit-Coffeecake among my grandmother’s recipes — but not the upside down cake. If interested, let me know where to send it. https://mollyscanopy.com/2021/04/worlds-fair-1964-i-fall-in-love-atozchallenge/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nowadays we only buy Weetbix when kids are coming to stay but I have very simple Weetbix cake to use up the leftovers. Walnuts and white Christmas always featured but I can manage without wasabi. Where would we be without that glass of wine?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you look at celebrations, or just meals, these days, a wine always seems to be in the picture. We have the same strategy with weetbix for the grandchildren but I usually send the remainder away with them on their drive.

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  7. I don’t remember too many breakfast other than our staple of scramble eggs with bacon and mama’s homemade biscuits. Never had waffles but think daddy made pancakes occasionally. Ate lots of watermelon as both grandfathers grew them. We had both red and yellow melons. Our nuts was mostly pecans as they grew locally snd we had 2 trees in yard.

    Liked by 1 person

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