Monday, 8 June 2015

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



1. TV COOKING SHOWS

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.


2. TOO MUCH UNFILTERED FOOD STUFF ON THE INTERNET

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.


3. WORRYING ABOUT LEFTOVER EASTER EGGS

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.

79 comments:

  1. Too funny the old ice cream scoop.. Oh what Masterchefs they were back then.(i remembered my mum doing the same yet we never had icecream..).. I have never heard of leftover Easter eggs though.. is this a new thing as it has never happened in my house.... strange... Loved this post.

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    1. Thanks Tamara. Yeah, I don't understand how anyone has leftover Easter eggs either!

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  2. Gael, I love your post! Made me laugh out loud! I love the plate of weetbix! Hilarious! I'm a child of the 70s and we've pretty much gone back to 70s cooking in my household with a three year old who is sensitive to just about every foodstuff you can think of (especially the manufactured ones - I know more food numbers than I've ever wanted to know!). So there's plenty of meat and three veg in our house - and maybe even a mushroom sauce every now and then!
    Love it!
    erin@findmyniche.com.au

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    1. Thanks so much, Erin, much appreciated. Yes, strangely enough meat and 3 veg actually has a better chance of pleasing the greatest percentage of people in this house too.

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  3. All very true! I actually still use an ice cream scoop for mashed potatoes ;)

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    1. Re the mash, whatever works!
      Also, small confession regarding your own post and boiling water - I am one of the idiots, but I tried it at lunch time and I'm converted now, lol, thanks!

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  4. I still use some of my Women's Weekly cook books and my old Australian school cook is almost minus it's cover, but I need it for when I want to whip up scones or pikelets. I always thought Weetbix are dry and boring and those ones sure will be sans milk. xx N

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    1. Thanks Nikki. Was that Cookery the Australian Way? It was a massive seller on school booklists (and retained as a bible by most), mainly in Victoria.

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  5. HA the internet is a menace. Sometimes its more of a hindrance than a help! And I've clearly been doing blogging all wrong as I made cookies with leftover easter eggs yesterday (in June!) and I did not think for a second I could make a post out of that!

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    1. Lol, Stacey, there's a missed opportunity right there. I'll bet you didn't need to look for a special recipe to make them though!

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  6. I used to use Women's Weekly cookbooks too. IF and that's a big IF I ever want to cook anything out of the ordinary I just look at the girl's recipes on the blog link-ups. They're reliable. I love your breakfast on a breadboard. Some of the plates I've been served meals on at restaurants are ridiculous. I end up with food spilled all around my plate and it's not because I'm a sloppy eater.

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    1. True, Pinky, there is some recipe gold in the linky blogs.
      Oh, and that's not a bread board - it's actually a Jamie Oliver style salad bowl!

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  7. It's funny, we were only talking about this the other day- what constituted "special" or "guest food." I remember buying nearly all of the WW cookbooks...

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    1. My mum used to buy each one for me as soon as it was published, but after a few years they started really churning them out so she had to put a stop to that !

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  8. Great post Gael! I remember exactly where I was when I first saw a colour TV.
    Peter Russell-Clarke was cooking and he had a bright red kitchen! I was mesmerised...

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    1. Thanks Jenny. I'd forgotten all about Peter Russell Clarke. He must be about 80 now!

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  9. Ahh this is great. I love the ice cream scoop mashed potato. It reminded me of The Castle. At work today, one woman was talking about the different lunch items she provides her son for school. She was talking sushi, foccacia etc. I was pretty blown away by the selection and variety. When I went to school I had a cheese and veg sandwich and an apple! #teamIBOT

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    1. Ha, Renee, I was almost going to mention the lunches but I already had too much for one post!

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  10. I don't watch cooking shows, and I have easter chocolate left over. I feel a little lost. Is this a good thing or a bad one?

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    1. You have chocolate, Jess. That can only be a good thing.

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  11. Ha love this - your breakfast photo is great! I'm going to hunt down my CWA cookbook now and find THE best sponge recipe for you.

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    1. Ah, thanks Vicki. To be honest, I've been giving more than a bit of thought to your lemon pound cake for the last hour or two. No lemons here though.

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  12. Left over Easter Eggs who would have thought you would have to come up with such recipes. Do you think as a nation we just buy way too much crappy food.
    PS and what's wrong with the old fashioned meat and 3 veg?

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    1. Yes, Sally-Ann, I definitely think as a nation we buy too much crappy food.
      And nothing wrong with old-fashioned meat and 3 veg, in fact it's probably one of the few meals I would get 100% consensus in this household. I sometimes reference it when I'm talking about my childhood because we had it probably 6 nights out of 7. That's the way it was. There were no complaints then either, we just weren't exposed to the variety of cuisines and cooking styles available now. It's just one of those things that really speaks of that era of my life.

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  13. I had all the WW cookery books, Margaret Fulton, Stephanie Alexander and many more ... and during the last few moves I got rid of all but a few. Now my daughter loves to go through them all ... and I wish I hadn't. So I am slowly collecting them again. I still do the quick google search for recipes though, but you're right, a tried and tested family recipe or old faithful, can't go wrong. I find the QCWA cookbooks, and get this - Lady Flo's cookbooks - to be the best. Honest, cheap and simple, and never fail.

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  14. I still have piles of my old ones, Bronnie. I don't use them much anymore, but I can't bring myself to get rid of them. The one I do still use all the time is the AWW Biscuits and Slices book. It falls open at the pages I have used most often.

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  15. This is so funny because it is so true! I get so annoyed googling a recipe for something and getting a gazillion hits of shit when all I want is the bees knees version. And I'm sick of seeing deconstructed food served on whatever impractical thing is laying around. **sigh** that actually feels good to complain about and get off my chest - thanks!

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    1. Ha ha, thanks Malinda. I'm glad it struck a chord with you :)

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  16. I don't ever recall Peter Russell Clarke using a wooden board to serve up food! He's the only celebrity chef I can remember growing up in the 80s but I never paid too much attention as I was just waiting for his short show (Come and Get It was the name I think?!) to finish so I could watch Bananaman or Roger Ramjet.... You are spot on about too many choices on the internet. I love trying new recipes but for classics I always end up referring to my trusty Commonsense Cookery Book!

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    1. Hi Tash. No, I think Peter Russell Clarke just used regular plates, lol. I still have my original Commonsense Cookery Book too!

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    2. I was only thinking of Peter Russell Clarke today as I was enjoying a bit of Nigella. How far celeb chefs have come. There was also a freaky French chef that was on ABC too I'm sure! Was this the Goodies or Monkey Magic time slot? Haha! Snap on the Commonsense Cookery book - what a winner!!

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    3. Hi Jo. Do you mean Gabriel Gate? He was on ABC in the late 80s.

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  17. Margaret Fulton WAS the Masterchef back then!!

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  18. Ha! I have collected a few vintage cookbooks for their awful food photography - love that stuff. Some of it looks like puke! By the way - find the best sponge cake recipe on MY blog!!

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    1. Of course, Jody, why didn't I think of that? Lol.
      Oh, and you're right about the food photography from the old cookbooks!

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  19. We never have any left over Easter eggs in our house either.

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    1. Maybe we should buy extra next Easter so we have leftovers, Raychael!

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  20. We have lots of left over Easter Eggs and I plan to eat them as is. I'm as stunned as you as to why I need to be "advised" as to what I need to do with them.
    The best sources from the internet for me are some of my food blogger buddies and taste.com. I don't look further than that!

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    1. Thanks Grace. Actually the thing I like about recipes on blogs is that I often see recipes i wouldn't have gone looking for when I am subscribed to their posts or see them on linkies, so it just throws up a few good ideas I might not have looked for. Thanks for having me at FYBF.

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  21. I remember the height of sophistication was pickled onions on toothpicks and mash wrapped in devon!

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    1. The mash wrapped in devon - haven't seen or heard of that in years! And sooner or later everything was shoved onto a toothpick back in those days!

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    1. Thanks Carolyn. The picture in my head before I did it was a lot better, but, yeah... it's a lol.

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  23. Did you ever come across 'Day to Day Cookery'? We used these recipes in Home Ec at school, as did my mum. I went and bought the book when I moved out of home!
    taste.com is great I reckon - go for the ones with the most stars and then read the comments to double check it will be the *best* ;)
    PS. What's the best sponge recipe??

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    1. Day to Day Cookery sounded really familiar so I googled an image. For sure I had it at home or school or possible both as my mum was a Home Ec teacher. I definitely remember the author's name - I.M Downes. I'd completely forgotten that one.
      Oh, and I still don't know what the best sponge cake recipe is!

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  24. Who needs deconstructed breakfast when you've got a two year old? We have redistributed breakfast spread everywhere!

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    1. I'm sure that's how the whole concept started anyway, Kylie - someone made a mistake and fixed it up creatively. :)

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  25. Left over easter eggs?! They're a thing?! Not in my house ;) Thanks for linking up today :) We love having you over and love your comments x

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    1. Thanks Fluffy. I always love visiting Champagne Missives. You guys both write relatable and interesting posts.

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  26. I don't know how many recipe books I gave in the cupboard and never open them... Just google a recipe or follow a blogger

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    1. I use a few old favourite recipes from my collection, Natalie, but yes, apart from that it's google and reliable blogs.

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  27. I think you're onto a winner with your Weetabix. Breakfast boards are a thing! Bahaha! I love AWW cookbooks. When I used to live in England, every time I used to come to Sydney on holiday I would buy a whole heap of those books, they were like my kitchen bibles! As for "leftover" easter eggs, I thought that was an urban myth!

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  28. Ha ha thanks Sammie. Traditional cereal bowls take the challenge out of things really. We like to step things up a notch with the food styling, especially on a school morning, lol. Thanks for having me at the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

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  29. I had to side with you on this one Gael! My favourite ever cookbook is the Victorian Country Women's Association cookbook - simple and tried recipes. A gift to me by my grandmother and a family favourite. No fancy stuff - just fair dinkum cooking!

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    1. Thanks Ashlea. Yes, those are the sorts of cooking books you just can't throw out!

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  30. I love your weetbix presentation, fabulous! We had the Day to Day Cookery book at school, and if it was still around, I'd probably be using it. All the wonderful food bloggers make it so much easier, don't they? :)

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    1. Good news, Lisa, it IS still available, in it's 4th edition, approx $50. Googled it, lol. Thanksfor popping in. :)

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    2. Oh my goodness Gael, that's amazing!

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  31. The Commonsense Cookery Book was given to be by my Mum when I first moved out of home. I can't remember what I ever made from it except for white sauce. I never got it right until I got a Thermomix. :)

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    1. Thanks Karin. I don't have a thermie but it sure seems to have its fans!

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  32. Hahaha we never have leftover easter eggs either! I was born in the 80s - but I must say that my favourite recipes are from my grandmas old recipe books - they're all handwritten and yellowed! Love them!

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    1. Thanks Lucy. Have you ever had a tea towel (or other) made with the original handwritten recipe printed on it? I've always thought that was a lovely idea but I don't really have any suitable handwritten originals.

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  33. I was born in the 60's too. I'm sure you're familiar with the 'Day to Day Cookery' book from back then. We had to have it for Home Economics at high school and relied heavily on that book when I first got married. :-)

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    1. Hi Min. I had forgotten all about Day to Day Cookery, but a few people have mentioned it here in the comments, and yes, I definitely used it either at school or at home or both.

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  34. I love this! I'm soooo with you on the Easter eggs. My instructions read: "eat whenever the heck you feel like it!" Great post x

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    1. Lol. Thanks Tonia. Those are my instructions too.

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  35. Still giggling at those weetbix of yours.
    I can't wait to make something like that for our Zadada on Father's Day!
    You've hit the nail on the head for finding those recipes, there should be some sort of filter to tell you which ones work out the most successful!
    Have a great week :)

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    1. Thanks Dannielle. Make sure you share a photo of your artistically plated-up Fathers Day breakfast!

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  36. I have a couple of old cookbooks put out in the eighties from the local pony club and a nearby school. One of them is all in the old measurements, but the recipes are all simple and work out great. There's never left over eggs here. I manage to eat them all just fine!

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  37. Blogging about left over Easter eggs is a thing now?! Seriously, just be grateful there is chocolate in the house and you got there first! Eat it quick before someone else realises!

    Excellent post, made me chuckle! #mummymondays

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    1. Thanks Mrs Tubbs. Actually the Easter egg recipes were from large 'parenting sites' and mainstream media. All were just re-hashes of other recipes.

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  38. I'm totally a masterchef and my kitchen rules junkie, although I've never used an icecream scoop for potato! The masterchef 'talk' has certainly rubbed off on me. Last night we had pork chops and I caught myself saying to hubby 'make sure you render the fat...' lol

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    1. Oh yes, I forgot about rendering the fat. We do a bit of that too. And make sure that skin is crispy! Thanks Eva :)

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  39. You had me chuckling out loud after the first paragraph and as it happens I read this post in front of the TV whilst the rest of the family are glued to Masterchef. Ironic much?
    When my Mum plated stew inside a ring of white rice in the 1970s we knew we were being treated to something pretty spesh.....a huge departure from lamb chops, mashed spuds (from a spoon...don't think we owned an ice cream scoop!), mashed pumpkin and canned peas.
    As for left over Easter eggs....I'm such a 'meaniac' that my kids have heaps left over from Easter this year. Still! So thanks for the tip off about the proliferation of recipes on the Internet. I might be needing a few (the kids don't need to know��) Easter eggs? What Easter eggs?

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    1. Oh Shauna, I can picture that ring of white rice so clearly. That was a great food-styling thing in the 70s cook books.
      Sorry for the delay in replying!

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  40. Holy Crap... you got up to 77 comments but haven't posted anything else since... How much encouragement do you need? You're bloody good at this writing caper... Do it!

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