Childhood Food Memories

I was reading an article by Anne Widdicombe about her childhood food memories and as I spent a weekend with my brothers recently I thought I would collect some food memories from them.

Like a lot of childhood things the food on the table was taken for granted.
Our mother was Irish, I remember her telling me that food rationing didn’t happen in Dublin and she and her family never ate anything out of a can.
Of course when she came over to England that all changed!

On Friday we always had fish of some kind but our favourite was her tuna fish pie.
I still make it some times as does one of the brothers.

Take a can of tuna in oil, mum used to drain the oil into the bin! I use the oil to make the sauce. Empty the fish into the bottom of a pie dish breaking it up a little. Cook some frozen peas for a few minutes, drain and add them to the dish. Make a white sauce and pour it over the fish & peas. Cook some carrot slices and put them over the top of the sauce, cover with lovely creamy mashed potato and put it in the oven until bubbling and golden.

Soup: always tomato; from a can. My favourite was Cream of Mushroom but I could only have it when I was poorly.
Actually I loved mushrooms but we were never allowed them, they were too expensive.
Irish stew with pearl barley of course. Mum had a huge brown earthenware pot that she put everything in and then cooked the stew in the oven.
Then there was her lovely hot pot that she cooked on top of the stove. She discovered something else that came in a can. Now this is something I will make if one of the brothers comes over because it reminds us all of our childhood, and the boys all love it.

Cut up potato and carrot into large chunks, and onions into quarters. Tip them all into a pan of water; add salt and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Drain off the water and while the pan is still hot add a tin of Marks and Spencer’s Stewed Steak in Gravy. It had to be Marks & Spencer’s she said because it had no fat! (She would add that in a moment.) Stir everything around to break up the potato a little and heat the meat through. Add a huge slice of butter (this was the days before we had cholesterol don’t forget!) and serve with bread and butter.
Still gorgeous, if you’re not veggy and can ignore the health of your arteries for a while.

Junket, what was that??? Dad used to make it.
I remember the tablets but no recollection of any ingredients or method. None of the brothers can remember anything about it. Perhaps it was a bad dream?

I expect someone will tell me?

I bet you were wondering what picture I would put with this post? I saw this whilst looking for something and it brought back a memory for me.

Strong green cabbage! Not everybody’s cup of tea but I absolutely adore it. Many years ago I spent a lot of time driving up and down the motorway to stay with my mother during the week while she had a long spell of poor health. My youngest brother did every weekend. We used to pass each other on a Friday evening.

In the week Mum & I lived on ready meals from M&S and I used to buy, among other vegetables, ready sliced mixed strong greens every day because they are fabulous and good for you and I never bought such a luxury for my self (the ready sliced bit not the greens!).
By about Thursday Mum would say to me “When are you going home Miriam?” I would tell her, very gently, “On Friday afternoon Mum”
With a beautiful twinkle in her eye she would say.”Good, then I can have something other than cabbage with my meal”

Do you have childhood food memories?

3 thoughts on “Childhood Food Memories

  1. Oh my goodness, yes, loads, Miriam! You’re setting me off, here. I could probably do a whole mini-book on the topic. 🙂 Lovely evocative post, and I remember pearl barley in stews and soup too. Made them go further, my Mum used to say.

  2. I love the greens too! I had my first Tuscan Kale of the season this week, yum! Childhood food memories, roly poly pudding (a steamed pudding) that my nan used to make, wrapped up in lots of muslin cloths and steamed for ages! Delicious!

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