Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random Memories...

Nomie is cooking. It smells so good! (tastes good too, pastry creations, yum)

The sweet smell reminded me of when I was a small girl and my Mum would bake raspberry shortcake tart with the lattice on the top. I used to help her put the pastry strips on the top. The smell was always good, and it tasted good too! My mum didn't cook sweet things that often, maybe that's why I remember when she did. I think it was before my sister was born, so I was under seven years old.

The other thing I remember from when I was young is mum buying me special treats if I didn't feel well. There was an English magazine called "June and School Friend" that she would buy me, and a Chokito bar when they first came out. I liked Wagon Wheels too. (chocolate has always been therapeutic)

Other times she would bring cakes home for afternoon tea, my Dad always had a sweet tooth, and I would get a chocolate eclair, my favourite. Dad loved vanilla slice and almost anything sweet really. I remember him making himself several jam sandwiches to take to work! (he was a carpenter, and was always tall and slim) Then when he got home from work he would snack on salami and cheese before dinner, he was always hungry after work. Sometimes Mum would make pikelets for dad after work, or waffles on the Norwegian waffle iron on top of the stove. Lots of jam and cream on the pikelets or cheese and salami on the waffles. My own family love waffles, gluten free ones of course!

We ate fairly plain but good food when I was a child, Dad didn't like spicy food (being Norwegian, I guess he'd never tried it either). On special occasions we'd have take away Chinese from Mee Sing at Lyneham, still there over forty years later and still run by the same family!! That's one tradition I have kept up, except we eat it in the shop because it tastes better that way ; ) We'd have fish and chips from the shop too, we loved fish and ate lots of it! Mostly what dad had caught himself, or Uncle Reidar (dad's brother) had caught, so it was usually fresh. Mum could cook fish very nicely. So could my Auntie Brenda, I do miss her.

It's interesting to think what variety we have in take away food these days in Australia; McDonalds of course, KFC, Kingsley's chicken, (and their awesome chips) so many international foods from India, Thailand, Japan (sushi, yum) Korea, Malaysia, Lebanon and Turkey, pizza of course and so much more. This country has benefited so much from migrants like my father over the last forty years, so wonderful to have such a wonderful range of foods to choose from and more and more gluten free foods becoming available all the time too. I guess no one could have imagined it forty years ago.

Back to the food at home. Norwegians love meat balls in gravy, served with boiled potato, carrots, cabbage and beans or something similar. (in fact it is now their National dish!) We had that often. Then there was the smoked cod. That was served with white sauce, potato (of course, everything is served with potato in Norway) and grated fresh carrot and greens. Dad like his smoked fish with white sauce piled onto thin crispbread and so did I ; ) Then there was the Australian touch, the roast lamb with all the trimmings! Sooooo good! Home made mint sauce and gravy, potato, pumpkin, onions, carrots, sometimes parsnips which I love, all baked and so delicious!

My maternal grandmother made memorable baked dinners too, memorable not only for the taste but for the size of the meal and her "eat everything on your plate" philosophy! She added so many vegetables that were unfamiliar to me and, being a quietly rebellious child, I was reluctant to even try them! Brussells sprouts loom large in my memory, I hated them!! I guess being forced to eat them did not encourage me to develop a taste for them, but by the time I was an adult, and my much loved Nan was in heaven, I loved them!

Food seems to be such a big part of my memory bank, and almost always associated with good memories (except for the brussells sprouts!)

The last memory I will share today is about my birthdays. Mum always asked me what kind of cake I wanted. I always answered the same; chocolate cake with cream in the middle and chocolate icing on the top (or was it the other way around? doesn't matter) It was a long time ago now ; )

Mum's cakes were always good, sponge cakes so light and fluffy. I loved the ones with whipped cream and fresh strawberries on them : )))

My Nan's cakes that I can remember were all fruit cakes, usually for special occasions and in my mum's big family (she was one of eight) there was always a special occasion. Nan made 21st birthday cakes, engagement cakes, wedding cakes, anniversary cakes and you name it cakes. I didn't particularly like fruit cake when I was younger, but I always ate the icing! Fruit cake was another thing I developed a taste for when I was older, and now the best gluten free fruit cake I know of is made by my dear friend Kathleen.

I started writing about mum and food because often my good childhood memories get clouded over, almost submerged, by the not so good ones and that needn't happen. Childhood should be a carefree time with many, many happy memories and comforting smells to remind us of them. I know it isn't always like that, but I do know my own children had the best childhood ever, despite many upheavals, and I can't help but wonder what foods they remember and what memories the smells might invoke for them. Maybe that's another blog in itself.

Thanks for taking this little journey down memory lane with me. What smells help you remember good times in the past? Please share them with me?

Chef of all the above, Naomi : )

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy 16th Birthday Miss B!!

 The gorgeous little Miss B

Just over two years ago Miss B came to live with my family. She was 14. So much has happened in that time!

There was the first year where she was going to high school, a new experience for me as I had home educated my other four children. This certainly was an experience for Miss B and for me!! I guess that's another blog post altogether!

When it came to Miss B's 15th birthday just over a year ago she knew what she had to do, she left school! A wise move and the beginning of her new life! She left behind painful memories of bullying (by students and teachers and by the system in general)and all the labels that had disabled her through seven different schools. She had never read a book, she didn't recognise the map of her own country, she had been denied an "education" of any description; unless the true curriculum was bullying, anger and incredible pressure to "fit in and shut up". At that they did "succeed".

Since then there's been a whole new world. A peaceful one with love and acceptance and wonderful learning opportunities and time to enjoy them. Books to be read, family tree to create and work on, cross stitching to learn and practice much of, piano and flute to play, tea to Adore ( and coffee too ( experiences like Floriade to share, holidays to plan, family and friends to love and be loved by, all the riches of a wonderful life!!

Miss B recently turned 16 and started a correspondence book keeping course. She wants to be a Book Keeper like her much loved and missed Mum. She has a gift with numbers. And an amazing memory. 

So the story is far from ended, but you can see where it's headed and it's all good!

Happy 16th Birthday Miss B, we love you and we are so glad you came into our family!