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?
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!
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!