A Facebook conversation between my sisters and a friend tonight got me thinking about how my love of food goes back quite a ways. From Mum’s spag bog to the G-Marts bickies, it all makes me smile. It’s only when those people are no longer in your life that you think, fuck, I really should have paid more attention to them cooking it, or actually learnt to cook it. Having said that, I have been lucky enough to be able to recreate a number of Mum’s meals. After Mum’s death I made it a point to be able to cook a few other famous recipes of the cooks in our family.
The odd dish of the bunch would be Mum’s ‘Tater Patties’, otherwise known as a hash brown. I’m the only one of my sisters that can cook them just like mum. The oxidised blackened grated potato and egg mix, slapped flat in a shallow pan of fat and then browned to crispy perfection. I only ever cook it when one or both of my sisters demand it. We drown them in white vinegar and scoff our faces off. If I’m really honest its a meal made of nothing and I guess that’s why we ate it, a lot! Spuds were cheap and they filled you up. Meals made from nothing were a necessity.
Times were pretty simple while I was growing up. We would feast on whatever Mum had whacked up that night; bangers and mash, carrots and peas with way too much fucking pepper; rissoles in gravy with guess what, more mash and carrots and peas with too much pepper; this savoury beef stew stuff with you guessed it, mash spuds, carrots and peas with way too much fucking pepper. The odd occasion we would have dessert, golden syrup dumplings with shit loads of cream. I’ve managed to nail those too and have tweaked the recipe to butterscotch and its now a staple in the camp oven when we go up the river.
The staple dessert for us though would have been custard. A big bowl of thick, sweet, smooth, bright yellow custard with a banana face on top. Makes me smile just thinking about how simple that meal was but how much pleasure it brought us, and now too to my boys. They love the custard and banana face, even still now they’re teenagers. I am the ONLY custard cooker on Christmas Day because I never fuck it up. Thin runny custard is not welcome in our homes, ever!
Dad worked away quite a bit, or well it seemed like a lot to me. Nights were often just us girls and we sung the usual chorus, dinner, bath and bed. The towel ritual after the bath, then dragging a brush through our hair followed by putting pj’s on. If Mum was in a good mood we could even sit up and watch the Don Lane Show or Prisoner. Yes, I did say times were simple… Mum was a cranky bitch most of the time, and I say that with utmost respect. If she was happy you did everything in your power to ensure she stayed that way, hence why I was making cuppas as soon as I could pour the kettle without skinning myself alive. Continuous supply of coffee equalled happy Mum, simples!!
I hate peeling spuds. I really fucking detest it and will cook rice instead of spuds just to avoid fucking peeling them. I wont even peel them to roast them. You ask either of my sisters and they will tell you the exact same thing. The amount of spuds we consumed in our childhood would have fed a small country. Mashed spud was ALWAYS on our dinner plate. It’s funny now though because my children won’t eat it… I wonder if my dislike of them has been bred into them? Perhaps passed through my genes to them.
When it’s Tater Pattie night I’m not the one peeling or grating the 30 spuds required. I’m happy to cook them, but I ain’t peeling and grating the fuckers. The next worst thing to peeling spuds is grating your knuckles off, losing the skin flaps in the grated potato mess. I hate to think how many knuckles we have eaten in our life time… yup I am actually laughing now. The thought makes me cringe!!
Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!