Over the past few days I have been looking at photos, looking for the ones I can use on my blog and in my book. Yes that’s right, I am writing a cookbook/memoir to share with anyone out there who may wish to read it. And my reason for doing this? Well every time I see a photo of my family and friends it reminds me of all the time we spent together, gathered around the table or in the kitchen. And as we grew up these fun times expanded to restaurants as well. Even though some photos have been lost along the way, through our travels and moving house, I can still picture certain ones in my head, as if the story that picture tells happened only yesterday. And in these days of ours when we hear of so much doom and gloom I want to write about happiness, about the good things in life and about how food can bring us all together as it has done so many times in my life!
In our household happiness, fun, celebrations and family always revolved around food. No one in the family has ever been a chef; we are just good cooks and even better eaters. From my true first memory of food I thought I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. I didn’t like pasta or noodles of any sort but put a bowl of SpaghettiOs in front of me and I was happy! So much for gourmet taste! Slimy noodles in what was more like an insipid tomato soup rather than a pasta sauce! Mum made the best Spaghetti Bolognese with good lean mince beef (better known as hamburger meat in our household), tomatoes and herbs. Always cooked long and slow and always tasty. I would eat the sauce, using bread to soak it all up but don’t even think of putting any spaghetti on my plate! I wouldn’t eat it! I do eat pasta now but it took me years to come to like the taste. I thank fresh pasta for that as the taste and texture are fresh and smooth rather than the floury stuff of my past!
Much the same goes for rice. I hate rice (even today!), it has no flavour and reminds me of worms; little teeny tiny ones. No rice for my please.. I don’t know when this hatred of rice started but I do remember mum would make baked rice custard which everyone in the family enjoyed.. Lucky for me the rice sunk to the bottom of the bowl so I was able to scrape off the good stuff! Yes, that’s right….. the custard. So custard gone and only rice left! I think mum then ate the rest.
Now that I think about it I was a bit of a picky eater when I was a youngster although I liked quite a lot of different food I still had my hate list (as did my sisters!). As you know mine was rice and noodles but I always loved vegetables where as my youngest sister, as I recall, would only eat corn, cold tomatoes and peas. Oh and she ate potatoes! We were allowed to be fussing and picky as my mum revelled in having us eat what we liked and enjoyed, but it must have been tedious as she was always making different things for each of us! Not to the point where we all had different meals but to the point where we all had something we liked on the plate. Thank you mum for looking after us all so well and for letting us try new food at our own pace. The best is yet to come on the food front as now I get to introduce mum to new foods she may not have tried. And she usually likes it. She actually ate duck and salmon on her last visit to us in Tassie and she liked them both. Win Win!!
Life was so different then (no I’m not that old but this was back in the 60’s), we didn’t have the multicultural foods that we enjoy these days. Luckily over the years and through all our travels we were able to experience different food styles, tastes and cultures. We were even lucky enough to introduce friends to new and exciting foods. As well we learnt about the Aussie style of food and eating and that was an experience in itself.
So that is why I love food and travel so much. You live, you learn, you enjoy, you experience and best of all you share. Share the love, the food and the happiness. That is what life is all about to me.