All this food reminded me of a project I was part of a couple of years ago. As part of my writing group we were asked to write about food stories, and ask people about their favourite food. This is what I wrote from all the different people I interviewed.
They were then read out at a food festival in the town I live in.
My mum worked in my school canteen, where she was responsible for peeling and cooking the potatoes. The bonus of having her work where I went to school was that I had extra helpings of pudding. The negative was Mum bringing home whatever was left over. I didn’t like liver the first time, let alone twice in one day. The one meal my mum did to perfection was stew. She started cooking the meat in the morning, letting it simmer for hours. Ingredients were added during the day – beef soup, gravy, carrots, potatoes, lentils (thankfully they turned to mush when cooked) and suet dumplings. Puffed up and just the thing on a cold winter’s night. When I came home from school and later work, its welcoming aroma lured me in from a long day of school or work.
Pink Cake and Custard
I remember they served pink custard at school. I don’t know why, but it tasted sweeter. Its combination with a light sponge cake, which had pink icing on top, was something I couldn’t resist. My other staple meal, unknown to my mum, was beans and chips. I had it every day for lunch. It was great because it wasn’t very expensive, and it meant I had some money left over for sweets at the end of the day. You would think I would have got fed up with the same meal, but I didn’t. Jamie Oliver then decided that school lunches weren’t healthy enough and both meals were taken off the menu, to be replaced with cauliflower soup and a variety of salads. The dinner lady, who made the cake, resigned in protest. So, I stopped having lunch and chose to have breakfast instead. A bacon roll served in a muffin – delicious.
Elizabeth (My daughter)
My nan told me that when she was young the left-over bone from Sunday lunch was turned into a stew and the left-over potatoes and vegetables were turned into bubble and squeak. Nothing was wasted because they didn’t have enough money to buy more. I loved staying with my nan and used to go to my nan’s straight after school and stayed there most weekends. I had a dog called Mitch and if I wanted to let her know I was staying; I would attach a note to his collar, and she would send me a note back to tell me it was okay. We used this system when Nan wanted her shopping done or if she wasn’t feeling very well. I loved her bread and butter pudding. Who knew layers of stale bread and raisins (dipped in milk) could taste so good? On top she would scatter some sugar and it would go in the oven for over for two hours. It had a taste all its own and comfort food on a plate.
Alan (My husband)
Grandma’s Yorkshire Pudding
I have fond memories of my grandma’s Yorkshire Pudding, which she made the traditional way. She would sit all morning making her Yorkshire pudding batter, by making a tiny “well” in the flour and gradually incorporating the eggs, (and water, with a tiny bit of milk) by beating with a simple fork. She poured the batter into large round pans, with piping hot fat, preheated in in a range with a coal fire by the side. When one side was cooked, she would turn it over. Then the large pudding were cut into 4 quarters and stacked on a plate to keep swarm in the range. We had them with some gravy. Ma made a stew to have after our pudding – it was a great favourite. Since we’d had our pudding already, we never had our dessert. Yorkshire folk would have would have been shocked to even suggest such a thing.
Sauerkraut pierogis with sour cream on top. If you don’t know pierogis are little pillows of dough, dumplings that can be stuffed with many things, potatoes and cheese, mushrooms even sweet pierogis stuffed with plum. After stuffing they are then dropped in boiling water and some stop there and eat them like that. My mom would go further and after parboiling would go further and fry in melted butter until lightly browned. So good!
Earlier this year we visited Parma in Italy for a few days, we stopped at a little place for lunch and ordered so e parma ham as a starter. the waiter said we MUST have an order of torta fritta to go with it! This was described as fried pastry on the English menu, we didn’t really know what would come, but my were we thrilled we took his advice! Light as air pastry shaped like a large ravioli not at all greasy, lightly salted and matched perfectly with the parma ham, I long to return just for a portion of torta fritta !