Wednesday, 23 November 2011

What My Mother Made For Dinner

Over the last few days the lovely Frances has brought up the issue of food and what we ate as children.  More specifically, what our mothers cook us for dinner.

Oh what memories I have of meal time as a child.  I was the one who was still sitting at the dinner table half an hour after everyone else had finished dessert with my main course still unfinished and a bowl of ice-cream sitting before me, taunting me as it melted.  I was not to have dessert until my first course was finished.  I didn't enjoy eating what we were dished up.  It was not until just a few years ago that I told my mother I had become rather proficient at getting my remaining meal into the bin and covering it up with other rubbish so that no one would know I had thrown it out.  She was horrified.  Firstly that I had been so deceitful.  Secondly that she truly had never known.  I pointed out that the was the whole idea - that she would never know and I would never be caught or punished!  It was the most devious thing I ever did, I think.

I was raised in the '70's where many Anglo Aussie families dined on boiled-to-death vegetables and grilled-to-a-crisp lamb chops or sausages.  Spaghetti sauce was browned mince and a tin of undiluted tomato soup served over pasta.  Now I'm sure there was more variety than that, like chop suey (yuk) and casseroles (which were boring) but that's what I remember eating on a day to day basis.  The highlight of my dinner life was Mum's tuna & rice casserole.  Cooked rice mixed with a white sauce and a tin of tuna, baked with cheese on top.  It's a meal I still make for my own family - with the addition of onion and garlic.

The interesting thing about what we ate back then is that my Dad prefers fairly plain meals even now.  And although she tries very hard not to show it, my Mum is a really good cook.  On the other hand, I enjoy cooking and as a family we enjoy to adventure of flavours and trying new things (for the most part).  In contrast to my own childhood, my children rarely reject what is put before them.  I wonder, is it my cooking, their love of food or a combination of both? 

Mum likes to come to our house to visit - she says it's like visiting a restaurant without having to pay the bill at the end.  I like to visit Mum's house - it's like being on a wonderful holiday from the kitchen.  And every now and then she makes me sugar-coated peanuts.  Oooohhhhh yeah!


joolzmac said...

I have similar memories:

yummy tender corned beef but I hated carrots in white sauce (now I love it)

Mum's beef casserole with her 'secret ingredient' - pearl barley

Mince and Macaroni - mince, tomato soup and pineapple - Mum's only take on Italian cuisine.

Mum making a roast chicken go between 6 people for the Sunday roast - we had lots of roast spuds and not a lot of chicken

Mum's roast lamb will always be the best I ever had. Cooked long and slow with browned veggies and a delicious gravy make from pan juices.

I remember I hated the smell of cabbage boiling and brussel sprouts were very hard to get down. I don't mind either now.

Luckily, Mum was never into offal - she had been made to eat tripe as a little girl. We never had lambs fry.

Mum made unreal ginger fluff sponges, pineapple meringe pies, biscuits and slices.

Good times!


Leisa said...

Your Mum and mine must have gone to the same cooking school! ;) As a child I HATED casseroles, and rice, and spaghetti bolognese, and mashed potatoes, and boiled to death veggies and corned beef - although now I look back on it all and think, "Oh I was such a fussy, unappreciative kid!"

I'm in awe of my mother. She fed seven kids, a husband and herself on a shoestring budget and always managed to have a main and a dessert every night. When I look back on it now she cooked awesome food!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I loved reading this, Tracy! I just find it so interesting to hear about people's food histories. Seems like we have some things in common, despite being raised on different continents. So funny about your trash bin deception!


P.S. I forgot to mention on my blog that the only time we had pasta was when my dad made spaghetti from a recipe he'd gotten from his college roommate's Italian grandmother. It's still the best spaghetti I ever had.

Tracy said...

Joolz - I still don't eat brussel sprouts, but Mum did end up lightly saute-ing cabbing with a few seasonings, and that's still my preferred way of cooking & eating it.

Leisa - My Mum was/is a great baker too. We always had home-baked goodies around.

Frances - One of the things I love about blogland is how similar people are even though we're all so different. I've loved reading your food stories on recent days.

Angela said...

These are such amazing memories. I think I am older than many of you - and was born as rationing ended in the UK. My Mum did "meat-potatoes-green veg" most of the time [sometimes the meat was sausages or -a highspot- Fray Bentos Pie in a Tin, with puff pastry lid]He rpoor health meant sho couldnt stand at the hob for long- so things regularly burned or boiled over!
She believed that "Rice is for puddings" and "garlic is foreign muck, we don't eat that" and used olive oil only for medicinal purposes!
The only pasta was macaroni, used for mac cheese for Dad's supper sometimes, or for a milk pudding on a sunday.
Because she had very poor health, she was unable to spend an afternoon baking - So she was never able to teach me to cook properly. She taught me a million other great skills tho!

But the good ladies of the church were forever popping round with cakes and pies for us - so we ate well.

My late MIL was a Fabulous Cook , and could have won Masterchef - and my beloved husband has been incredibly patient with my 32 years of culinary efforts!

thanks for the memories!
blessings x