When I see children tucking into Sushi, Curry, Pizza, Yiros or Spring Rolls it makes me realize how much broader their eating experiences are than my own childhood ones. Our family didn’t have a rich cultural diversity and our meals reflected that. Any spaghetti we had came out of a tin and bore no resemblance to the delicious Italian recipe I’d enjoy now.
Breakfast would have consisted of Weetbix or Cornflakes in Summer and possibly Semolina in winter, definitely not muesli with yoghurt. We also made toast in a toaster where you had to stand and watch it all the time, the toast didn’t pop up, you had to open the door to check it and to take the slice out.
We ate breakfast, lunch and tea, I think it was considered posh to have “dinner” in the evening. Staple night time meals were Mince with mashed potatoes and peas, forequarter chops and sausages or stew. Mum used a Pressure cooker to cook stew and I hated being asked to drop the valve over the jet of steam when she was busy out in the garden. Sometimes we’d have “English Fillet”, I’ve no idea what kind of fish it was but it was orange and it was cooked in milk and served with white Sauce and parsley. We’d have boiled potatoes with that. Savaloys were a filling meal served with vegetables and Tomato Sauce.
When our old Auntie Myrtle was living with us she took over the cooking and we had to eat things like Liver and Bacon, crumbed Brains, Tripe and Kidneys.
Sunday lunch was usually a roast of Forequarter Lamb or rolled Brisket with plenty of roast vegetables and Gravox. Although we kept chooks we didn’t ever kill them for dinner but in the 1960s a Chicken Shop opened within a mile or so of our place and occasionally we’d get a Roast Chicken for Sunday lunch or a special occasion. Unlike now when we have as much chicken as we want at a single meal it was really not much more than a delicious taste of it when I was young. Vegetables would be whatever was in season and always fresh; cauliflower, spinach, peas, green beans, silver beet, swedes, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, carrots or pumpkin.
During the week we’d have salad with the left over roast meat. The salad was made up of tomatoes, Iceberg Lettuce, Apple Cucumbers and onion. No French or Italian dressings just mayonnaise or a splash of vinegar. There would also have been Beetroot but not on my plate!
Sunday night meals were easy and quick like canned mushrooms on toast, Baked Beans, spaghetti or Scrambled Eggs.
Desserts were usually some kind of stewed fruit from our trees or canned served with custard. Our fridge couldn’t keep icecream so that was a special treat. Other desserts were Jelly, Junket, creamed rice or sometimes Blancmange A favourite dessert of Auntie Myrtle’s was Bread and Butter Pudding.
“Take Away” meant Fish and Chips if we were very lucky when we went down to the beach. Rice was a dessert dish and my first meal with savoury rice would have been when I was about 18 and had my first “exotic” Chinese meal.
2 thoughts on “Times Past: Meals”
Your meals sound similar to mine but it was only when we we went to the beach for holidays that we had fish and chips. I remember walking down the road to get our milk in a container from the lady with the cow. We had chooks for eggs but also for eating. I remember my mum plucking the poor chook. I dont know if she chopped their heads off…but roast chicken was special and delicious. She made our icecream and I remember making butter from the cream. It took a long time. My mum loved curry ..I am sure it was keens curry powder. My dad also cooked but mostly when we were at the beach he cooked the fish and prawns but he also cooked any offal. I think he wanted to become a chef when he came back from the war and I am not sure why that didnt happen. probably lack of money and a wife and child. I remember the blue custard he made when my mum was in hospital and he was quite hurt that we rejected it.
vegetables, apart from the roast were always boiled. I grew up in country qld where we werent exposed to any foreign food at all apart from my mums curry. I suspect country qld kids still have similar diets. meat and three veg. and macdonalds when they go to the city.
Believe it or not although we lived in the city we also had cows for years and I remember Dad making butter in the shape of a mother hen with chicks. Like your’s, if it wasn’t a roast dinner the vegies were all boiled, ours to a squishy death!