Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Food, Recipes, Stories.

When writing someone's story - don't forget food.  Food plays a great role in the lives of many people in some way.  It might be a migrant who continues to create the dishes of their home country, it might be that someone has created a family story about some food.  These are often an important part of someone's story.

Here are a few of my food stories.....

Story One

Years ago when I was little, we had a wonderful garden and my parents grew fruit trees, vegetables, berries and lots more.  This was in the 1950's (ok, now you know I am a senior!) and post war it was not uncommon for folk to grow much of their own food.  This story relates to a day when my mother was "preserving" rhubarb in the oven.  The rhubarb was in glass jars with lids, but for some reason, when mother took them from the oven, several exploded not only cutting her badly on the face, but rhubarb and broken glass covered every wall, cupboard, bench etc in the kitchen with a red gooey messy sludge.  Luckily my father was home, so he took charge and sent my sister and I outside of the house.  I may have been about 8 years old, and my sister was 4 years younger.  We wandered to neighbours and told them the story, and my sister kept crying that maybe mother would be dead.  I tried to console her, but what I said was reported back to our parents.  Apparently I said "Don't worry, if mummy dies, daddy will get married again and we might get a better mummy."  Luckily mother survived, and dad eventually remove the sludge from the walls, ceilings etc and repainted the kitchen.

Story Two

When I brought a young man home to meet my parents (we were later married), my mother put on a special dinner for us - my parents, my boyfriend and me.  She cooked a special spicy dish which three of us enjoyed without any trouble, but the boyfriend was not used to chili and soon became red faced and breathless.  We managed to "save" him - but it has always been a funny story as we claim mother was trying to get rid of him.  (Shame, I was married to him for a long time - but then left him)

Story Three

My daughter has never been particularly interested in food and cooking and even now we tease her as her skills are mediocre  at best, although, to be fair, in recent years she has had poor cooking facilities, but a new oven is making a difference.

On this occasion she was in her early teens, and I was very ill in bed.  When she came home after school she decided to bake a cake, using one of my treasured recipe books.  I heard the mixmaster whirring briefly, then screaming, and I leapt from my sick bed and rushed to the kitchen as best I could, to be greeted with a daughter and every square inch of my kitchen covered with flour!!!  Her face and clothes were all white - and when she opened her eyes she looked like some strange ghost!  She had the mixmaster running while she "added the flour" which with the power of the beaters was scattered in every direction, making it look like a major snow storm in the kitchen.

Story Four

I was fortunate in that my mother, despite a couple of memorable events (see Story Two)  taught me to preserve fruit and other foods.  In summer school holidays, the apricots, peaches, plums, and nearly every other fruit in our garden was harvested and preserved.  She had quite a collection preserved items.  All sorts of preserves and jams.  That is where I learned to preserve and later on I was an enthusiastic jam maker, though I am not a great eater of it.  I was for a number of years the Convenor of the Jam and Pickle Stall at the annual school fete.

I have also made Lilly Pilly Jam - the Lilly Pilly is a fruit native to Australia and some parts of Asia and for the most part the fruit falls to the ground (if the possums and bats don't get them) and go to waste. 

An idea - why not create a book with your mother/grandmother/aunt's story along with her favourite recipes.



Nayna Kanabar said...

Wonderful ideas of creating the scene. I like your advise on writing style.

Jonathan Clayton said...

Great Read.