There are times when I feel so blessed to have been born to the mum and dad that I had – and yes, I do refer to them in the past tense. Being a little girl in the 50s was both a fun time as well as an affluent time.
We lived in a small town on about an acre of land around the house. We had a few fruit trees – the plum tree in particular was a fabulous tree for climbing and sitting in the branches eating the plump fruit. The veggie garden was filled with a wonderful array of delicious produce. Sitting shelling peas was one of the “jobs” we kids had to do, I don’t know how many were either eaten or flicked at each other, but probably more than actually went into the bowl.
Chickens also provided beautiful free range eggs and one would give her life to be part of the Christmas dinner (chicken was actually a real luxury back then). Every so often mum would get meat from a local farmer, usually a few friends would share the meat as the farmer would kill and butcher one animal specifically for them. However, she did go either up to the slaughterhouse which had its own butchery or to the local butcher. I never connected the dots between the animals I saw in the slaughterhouse yards and what we were served.
Mum was really ahead of her time when it came to cooking. She was a great one for creating “new” dishes, experimenting with food, never over cooking and taking inspiration from anyone she met who came from a different culture. Apart from baking, she never used a recipe and very seldom wrote anything down, consequently we very rarely had the same meal twice.
Luckily I have be blessed with my mother’s talent, I also don’t need recipes and can be creative with food. The only difference now is that I don’t have meat of any kind, don’t have the fruit trees or the chickens – I do have a bit of a veggie garden albeit a spit of the size. I have to be careful of the foods I buy, looking at labels etc, and I shop in a supermarket which is very different to going shopping with my mother.
Ah, yes, I have been very blessed to have been born into such a cool family and such a lovely era. But then, if we give our children a warm, fun loving, family orientated home with great (healthy) food and plenty of outdoor play we ensure they will have great childhood memories too – any era is just perfect.