It’s Dinner Time!

I noticed Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith, has been trialling a new non-fiction prompt. I do think I naturally am inclined to write more non-fiction, so these prompts do appeal to me. I could not resist today’s because it was about food!

What were family dinners like when you were growing up?

Is there a special meal that has been handed down through the family?

family dinners.jpg
Image by Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

I do remember family meals. And as I look back I think we ate very simply really. We did not have a huge amount of variety in our diet, which is probably why I find variety so important now. I find it hard to have the same food all of the time. Also, we had a pretty decent main meal for our school lunch – so our evening family dinner was normally fairly simple.

Monday to Friday we would come home from school and we would normally have something simple. Sometimes a sandwich. But usually it would be something on toast.

Or we might have something else from a tin (with or without toast). I reckon we helped Heinz make a fortune!

When we finally had a microwave, we had a wonderful addition to our weekday family dinners – BAKED POTATOES. This was a welcome alternative to toast!

baked potatoes

If we wanted a pudding after our meal, there were either jam tarts or yogurts. Mum used go buy Penguin chocolate bars. Which were two thin layers of chocolate biscuit with a chocolate cream in the middle and coated in a thin layer of chocolate. They are a bit like the Australian Tam Tams. I have to admit, I was so fed up of the same chocolate bar. I craved something different.

When an Aldi supermarket opened up in the town center and everyone said there prices were great, Mum headed down there and she bought cheap versions of popular favourites. I remember Racer bars, which were like a cheap Marathon or Snickers bar, and Titan bars which were like a cheap Mars bar.

Now the weekend was very different. Every Saturday all of us would spend the day together. We might play tennis or some other sport. If the weather was bad, we might do a jigsaw or play a board-game. One of my older sisters would teach us some tap dancing. My oldest sister would practice first aid procedures on us (she was doing her nurse training). My brother would play on his computer. We often went out to play with other families – football, rounders and hide and seek. So on Saturday because there were so many of us (often we had friends over as well) Mum used to make a big buffet. She would make lots and lots and lots of sandwiches! There would be crisps (No Frills Crisps) and sometimes mini sausage rolls or mini pizzas.

Mum would try to make a cake for us all. Normally it was a date and walnut cake or a Madeira cake. If she did not have time to make a cake, she would buy a Victoria sandwich cake from the supermarket.

And there was Sunday! Which meant a roast dinner for the family! I think it was normally chicken that Mum would roast. Occasionally she made something different – like one day she made liver and onions. Or sausage and mash potatoes was another family favourite for Sundays. Even though I have not eaten meat since I was six years old, I can still remember the taste of the liver – and it is not a good thing! We would always have a yummy dessert too. If Mum had time, we might have her trifle or it would be a family size gateaux from the Iceland supermarket.

This was basically what we had week in week out for many years. And we did pretty well. We were champion swimmers and we were on all the sports teams at school. Looking back it does seem very boring, compared to the way we eat now. But there was love! You know the proverb 🙂

When Mum started work, which was when Milly started school, I was ten years old. I started trying to cook for me and my sisters after school. Mum was a nurse and she would sometimes only arrive home at work at nine o’clock at night. Dad would come home from work at five o’clock. We would normally have one of the neighbours oldest daughters look after us for an hour after school or we would have a recorder lesson somewhere else. We needed food before we went swimming. So I started to make vegetarian cottage pies, stir-fries, pasta and curries (with sauces from a jar) and as I became older I started to try recipes from cookery books

I think Mum was very glad to come home from work and have something waiting for her. We would be back from the swimming pool and climbing into bed by the time she was home.

That was family dinners! Now I make sure I have lots of variety and I have lots and lots of salad and veggies. I feel as if I ate too much stodge growing up – but we were able to burn all those carbs because we were so active. Now I am in my thirties, I could never get away with that kind of diet!

Another Week Closer

light heartedWell, I am glad that Melanie B Cee, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has given us a light-hearted bunch of questions this week, because I am shattered at the moment, and I am not to anything to heavy:

Seeing this photo of a heart shaped hot air balloon made me wish I could get myself one of those and start my trek over to Australia now already!

Some Silly Questions:

Is it better to suspect something (bad or hurtful) and not know or to have your worst fears confirmed by sure knowledge?

I kind of like to know what I am dealing with. If there is something bad or hurtful at play, I think in general I would rather know sooner than later.

During our earliest pillow talk, Goldfinch told me things he had done in the past. I am so glad he did. I think if he had hid them and I found out later, I may have been upset. But knowing them from the start, that gave me time to think about how I felt about things he had done in the past. (I know you are wondering what those things were, but I am not going to share his personal life.) There was nothing shocking by modern standards, but for me, a princess, they were kind of a big deal. Yeah, I am really glad he was open with me from the start.

I remember a Kylie song I used to love when I was a kiddo (don’t laugh) with the words: “why was I the last to know?” I think ever since then, I have thought if someone you love does something to hurt you, it is so much easier if they come and tell you. But the hiding it, deceiving you – that makes it really hard to swallow doesn’t it?

What makes you laugh aloud?   Crack up?   Laugh until your sides split?   When was the last time you had a great big belly laugh?

It happens and I am not even sure why sometimes. It’s usually some kind of physical comedy or farcical event. My workmate was telling me about an incident I missed when (someone had accidentally knocked a button without realizing) jets of smoke started streaming out of the ceiling…and another time when she accidentally locked herself out and how she managed to get back into the building.

There have been many times when we were laughing while working on voluntary projects. There is an amazing spirit amidst the volunteers and laughter is never far away. The time when we were working at two o’clock in the morning trying to be quiet because we were next to a residential area and an alarm started going off. We all looked bewildered because nobody could understand where it was coming from. Eventually someone identified it as coming from a gurney that we had stacked. One of the girls crawled into the tight space trying to reach the controls of the gurney. She pressed a button she could see, but all that did was change the tune of the alarm. She pressed it again and yet another tune started to play. The gurney had eight different kind of alarms and we were all crying with laughter as she kept pressing that button – eventually she found the off button but not before we were all in stitches laughing.

What else? Well…there were the round tables that we were rolling around the inner corridors at Twickenham rugby stadium. There are a lot of round tables. We were moving them, we had to roll them. They were big tables. Two volunteers to each table. Some of the boys thought it was a race. Maybe I should not tell that story, I think I might get someone seriously in trouble. But we never have stopped laughing. There are a lot of function rooms within Twickenham stadium. I have worked in most of them. I know the stadium like the back of my hand.

Oh dear I have some stories – the time someone who was ill went sleep-walking in their night dress. The security guard saw on the cameras a woman in a while smock walking round barefoot with her arms in front of her and suddenly he looked up and she was right outside the reception area where he was based. I didn’t laugh at the time because it was quite serious, but years later I could see why everyone else was laughing at the incident and a huge belly laugh broke over me.

There have been many things that have happened that were so bizarre and they usually involved people, things going wrong and the reaction of other people – and often I am so overcome with a mix of helplessness and just how hysterically funny the situation is, that I start laughing uncontrollably.

Do you suppose Noah had woodpeckers in the ark?  If he did, where did he keep them?   (…this is merely for fun, okay?)

Well if he did have woodpeckers, he would make sure they were up high, and not at risk of poking holes in any of the vessel that was below the water line!

On the question of whether wood-peckers specifically were in the ark – I do not know. We will have to wait to ask Noah and his family that. I read that there are over two hundred species of woodpecker world-wide and a couple of weeks ago, I saw a wood-pecker up close for the first time in my life. I have heard them before, but never seen one in action. I watched it for several minutes as I was very excited.

But there is a possibility they may not have been woodpeckers as we know them now. In the first chapter of Genesis, reference is made to living creatures swarming forth “according to their kinds”. (Genesis 1:21) It is implied that there is a limit as to how much variation can occur through breeding and adapting to environmental factors. But where exactly those boundaries or limits lie is interesting to research.

There are millions of species on earth today of living creatures. They would not necessarily have all had to be in the ark, but the “kinds” within which they are classed must have been represented.

Why is “Charlie” short for “Charles when they are the same number of letters?

Well…I have never given it much thought. According to Google there are some individuals who have given it (probably too much) thought and have expressed their annoyance about this in various forums. Oh the joys of the internet!

I did notice some other examples though where the fun version of a name is not necessarily a strict “short-for”, including the following:

  • James – Jimmy
  • Robert – Robbie
  • John – Johnny
  • Bob- Bobby
  • Gary – Gazza
  • Susan – Suzie
  • Jane – Janie
  • Goldfinch – Gorgeous

Growing up in the north of England, everyone had their name shortened. I love calling Goldfinch pet names. I don’t think “Munchkin” went down well. Well, he is six foot one. At the moment I call him “Gorgeous”, but he calls me that too, and he calls me “Little Lady” – at five foot eight, I am not all that little!

Thankful, Joyful, Grateful

What  happened in your world this past week that made you feel thankful, joyful or grateful?

I am very grateful at the moment for all the lovely friends who are feeding me! They are really helping me while I am living in this very tight budget. So much amazing food is coming my way!

I am also very grateful for one of the girls at work. She always goes above and beyond, and she leaves me reminder notes and texts me to check I have remembered. She is the best work colleague you could ever ask for!

And I am especially thankful that another week has past, meaning I am one week closer to being with Goldfinch again!