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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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?