Food, family and memories

jelly slice

Are you known for a particular recipe? Do you remember a loved one by a recipe they make or used to make? Does tasting a particular dish take you straight back in time?

My mother-in-law was famous for her slices. Every family gathering, from funeral to christening, birthday party to Christmas gathering, she would make a huge batch of slices. Various ones – each of her children and their families had their own favourite. My husband and son love her Jelly Slice. Unfortunately she passed away a few years ago, and while we have the recipe, we just can’t duplicate the slice the way she made it. Every now and then, we try again – my son made it yesterday in honour of St Patrick’s Day (because it uses green jelly). And each time we make it, we think of and talk about Ma.

Rock cakes and jam drops always remind me of Nan, my father’s mum. Every time she came to visit, she would bring a batch of one of those types of biscuits for my dad – I think because in her opinion, my mum didn’t feed him right ๐Ÿ™‚ I have her exercise books full of hand-written recipes (usually consisting of no more than a list of ingredients – because obviously everyone would know how to cook it!) and recipes clipped from magazines.

My aunt is known for her Christmas pudding – with more than generous lashings of brandy or whatever alcohol she uses in the recipe. You don’t want to be breathalyzed after eating her puddings! It always takes me straight back to big family Christmas lunches, with the grandparents, aunts & uncles & cousins. There were always threepences in the pudding – and whoever scored the most coins in their slice would win the prize. I was the youngest grandchild for quite a while, so I would get slipped everyone’s coins. It was quite a rude shock when my youngest cousin came on the scene ๐Ÿ™‚

Toast cooked with a toasting fork over an open fire reminds me of my other grandparents – the bread was probably home made and there would undoubtedly have been lashings of butter.

I think my food memory of my mum, who fortunately is still alive and well, is sweet rice – rice cooked in milk slowly on a low heat for hours on the top of the combustion stove in winter, with sugar and sultanas. I’ve never been able to duplicate it.

I wonder what my son and future grandchildren (getting rather ahead of myself here!) will remember me for. Possibly my baked dinners or homemade pizzas. Maybe I need to develop a signature dish?

Food can have such an amazing place in our memories, instantly transporting you back to another place, another time.

What’s your favourite food memory? I’d love to hearย your story in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Food, family and memories

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-10349">
    Susanne Bellamy

    My mum was a wonderful cook and always open to new ideas. When I was young, Sukiyaki was almost unheard of. I remember sourcing the ingredients, ‘odd’ things like bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, then watching her slice them thinly by hand. Delicious! My dad made special breads at Easter, having learned the skills in the navy as a young man.

    My children love my lasagne with my ‘secret’ ingredient; it had to become a half and half meat/vegetarian lasagne when my daughter became a vegetarian but that was fine because everyone else enjoyed both halves! And both children have a special birthday cake they request if they come home for their birthdays now–daughter loves her pink-speckled beetroot cake and son, his carrot cake.

    I don’t consider myself much of a cook–It’s criminal what I can do to a steak–but I think these and my roast pork with yummy crackling are what my family will remember of me.

      li class="comment odd alt depth-2" id="comment-10364">

      Oh yum – pork crackling – I’m on my way ๐Ÿ™‚

      Your mum was definitely ahead of her time. When I was growing up (in a lower-middle class country family), it was meat & 3 vege all the way. I remember trying my 1st pizza and marvelling at how exotic that was!

      Thanks for dropping by Susanne!

    li class="comment even thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-10350">
    Fiona Greene

    Kerrie, I’m a slice maker too and that is my family’s recipe legacy. My favourite – Ginger coconut slice with a lemon icing. Yum. While on long service leave from the day job, I took an old handmade recipe book (shiny photocopy paper and held together by pipe cleaners) that has been in our family as long as I can remember and typed it up. Now I’m exploring those recipes all over again. Having trouble with some of the older measurements (oz, fl oz etc) but they’re all good.

      li class="comment odd alt depth-2" id="comment-10365">

      Sounds fascinating, Fi! Thanks for sharing your memories!

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-10372">

    pan fried cheese sandwiches. I relive this in Simmering Season. we would put a table cltoh on the loungeroom floor ona Sunday night and plug in the fry pan. then, with loads of butter on the outsode of the sandwihc, we would fry until golden brown and have competitions seeing who couod string the longest melted cheese thread. yum.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-10498">

      Oh yes Jenn! Yum! I still do them like that sometimes, especially when we’re in the caravan ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I’m craving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *