Monday, 8 June 2015

3 Food 'Things' We Didn't Have in the 70s


If nothing else, Master Chef and My Kitchen Rules have equipped my children with the vocab to politely not finish the meals I cook. They might mention that I have ‘over-caramelised the protein’ as they tip the burnt remains of their sausage in the bin. What they really mean is “Better luck next time, champ. What’s for dessert?”

Back in the 70s, we thought things were getting fancy when mum used an ice cream scoop to serve the mashed potato in perfect domes on our ‘meat and three veg’ dinner. Little did we know that one day people would serve meals stacked in small towers or de-constructed, with artistic swooshes, smears, dots and crumbs all over the plate.

Well, when I say ‘plate’ I might be talking about a wooden board or a tile, or a jar, really, because my favourite celebrity chefs have almost rendered our traditional household crockery inventory obsolete.

 But I do love my cooking shows, and I try to embrace the wonderful advice on offer. This is how we serve breakfast in our house:

 Don’t try this at home – pouring the milk over the Weet Bix can be problematic.


When I was a girl, recipes came from a limited group of trusted sources like Margaret Fulton, the Commonsense Cookery Book, and a small but blossoming range of Australian Womens Weekly Cookbooks. And don’t forget the recipes passed on by family or friends.

 These days we can find amazing Youtube tutorials to make anything our greedy hearts desire, and an avalanche of spectacular recipes. This is a bit of a double-edged sword though.

I frequently use the internet to find new recipes. But I really wish there was some kind of quality control filter out there. When I search for, let’s say, a sponge cake recipe, I want to find the best sponge cake recipe in the world. And some stupid optimistic part of me ALWAYS thinks that if I type in BEST SPONGE CAKE RECIPE I will actually find the best one - the one that a cyber panel of at least 100 people has trialled and tested and voted the best in the whole world. But instead I get a whole heap of recipes from every Tom, Dick and Harry who have titled their recipe Best Sponge Cake recipe, or some totally crap sponge cake baker who happens to be a SEO genius.

 And there is also another level to this. Let’s say I post on facebook asking my friends if they have a tried and true sponge cake recipe, what do I get? Certainly not great-grandma’s 100 year old CWA award winning sponge cake. No - I get links to the same crap I googled myself!

See, that’s the problem. We have so many resources available to us, but because most of us are just walking around like numpties, bumping into everything, we’re only just scratching the surface.

So here’s what happens in the end … I add the name of some smartarse celebrity chef to my google search, someone who should know what they’re doing but will add about 20 different pinches and quarter teaspoons of completely unnecessary ingredients to the recipe so we think they are a complete genius.

Then I’ll add two hours to their suggested prep time and off I go! Not the best sponge cake ever, but at least I know it won’t be the worst.


When I was a girl, shops weren’t bursting at the seams on Boxing Day with Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns. In fact, even closer to Easter, they weren’t exactly filled to the brim with Easter goodies.

I remember one year my dad bought our Easter Eggs when he was away at a conference, because he had some free time and saw something a bit ‘different’ – the Humpty Dumpty Easter Egg, with Smarties inside.

Nowadays, of course, we are spoiled for choice, and inundated with volume. So spoiled and inundated, in fact, that the food media finds it necessary to counsel us on what to do with our leftover Easter eggs. That’s right, we need recipes for using excess Easter eggs.

First of all, do I really need to say it? Leftover Easter eggs are really just Easter eggs I haven’t eaten yet. I don’t need professional instructions on what to do with them. When the time is right I will eat them, probably sooner rather than later too, if you really need to know.

Secondly, if people have too many Easter eggs in their house to consume in the traditional manner, adding more fat and sugar to convert them into a different chocolate food with a much shorter use-by date and way more calories isn’t really solving a problem as far as I can see.

And thirdly, that’s some pretty bloody expensive cooking chocolate you’re using there, isn’t it?

I know I’m a cynical old cow but the proliferation of this kind if re-hashed stuff in the media ranks in the same league as Kardashian headlines for me.

 Or maybe I’m just jealous because other people have leftover Easter eggs.

Photo Credit: My own photo.