Friday, 15 August 2014

Food Revolution

Sitting here watching The Railway man, a scene came on where a cut lunch was on the table in the train. It invoked a wave of memories from childhood. This then got me thinking about one of the biggest changes that we go through in our lives - food.

Growing up, we certainly were not well off and at times, not even comfortable. When thinking back to what we took to school for lunches, it was always sandwiches of Vegemite or soggy tomato sandwiches. If we were lucky we had luncheon and I can even remember having spam. Sometimes we also took a boiled egg. A good day was being able to buy a Joe's pie from tuckshop. Lunch time at home on weekends or holidays were pretty much the same.

Dinner was meat and veg, savoury mince or pea and ham soup. The 'meat' was nearly always either sausages or rissoles. Sunday was always a roast dinner. When I was about 10, my mother started working at a butcher shop, doing the books. We then got to experience things like t bone every so often.

When I was 12, my parents bought 16 acre's at Kholo. Here they had fruit trees, a veggie garden, chooks, pigs, cow, sheep and turkey later in the year. All was for food. Turkeys were fattened for Xmas, chooks for eggs and then when off the lay for Sunday roast. From the cow, we got milk which also gave us cream and butter (this was churned by hand), calves that became meat - the same with the pigs. We ate a lot of duck, as dad and I would go shooting. Nothing like spitting pellets out as you eat haha.

Nearly everything we ate, came from home. Our neighbour would help with the kills and he would make sausages - including blood sausage (yuk) - and he also had a smoking room for bacon. Into our normal menu, came pigs trotters and this horrible pressed meat with jelly dish that was for on sandwiches.

We did have take away. Dad would be working on the coal trucks on Friday nights and we would go to the Ebbw Vale takeaway and get fish and potato scallops. Or Chinese from Jimmy Wahs.

Even when I moved out of home at 19, takeaway was fish and chips on a Friday night. Lunch was ham and salad rolls, dinner was meat and vegetables.

I can't remember when I fish got to try pizza or KFC. But these were just a sometimes/rare meal.

The kids all grew up on fresh food. You would make vegetables and freeze them in ice cube trays. It was always things like potato, pumpkin, carrot or choko served with chicken, fish or beef. We still had the Sunday roast but they also got hungry jacks or McDonalds.

Life was still a very 'western' diet.

Through the years Italian came into our diet more in the form of spaghetti and pizza. I was 30 when I tried my first Japanese and in my 40's before I tried it again and also got to try takeaway Thai. Due to working with a Greek girl when I was in my teens, I got to try traditional Greek food.

When I look at our diet now, it is very multi cultural. I cook Asian, Moroccan, Mexican, and more. I see what little kids have as their diet and they are given sushi and fruits and vegetables that we had never heard of. I think it is so exciting for them.

The thing that I feel sorry for those growing up today, is that they will never get to experience the full flavour of fresh food like we did. That tartness of a granny smith apple and the juiciness of it. The taste of preserved cherries and peaches, that have sat on the shelf in a laundry next to an old copper washer. Food with full-bodied flavours all of their own.

I wonder what we will be eating in another 20 years time.