Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kind of repeat post, the food we eat

When you have been blogging for a long time, invariably you will repeat something, often with updated thoughts or information. So, it was quite some time ago that I mentioned the food we now eat as opposed to what we ate as children and that our food has changed is an understatement.

As I mentioned recently, R and myself ate at the Blue Note Cafe in Richmond. We chose to share a platter of finger food. It was an adequate size for two people for lunch and we enjoyed it. Half way through the meal I remarked to R that there was not one thing on the platter that either of us would have eaten as a child.

A homous dip in the centre with probably sough dough bread. Olives, semi sun dried tomatoes, fried chorizo, fetta cheese, red peppers/capsicum/bell peppers, a mix of leaves with a vinaigrette dressing but none of them an ice berg lettuce. I think that was all. Now I am hungry.

Not only that, I had an espresso coffee and R had a skinny latte, neither of which any of our family would have drunk when we were young. It was only ever tea.

We very rarely ate out when I was young. Most Friday nights would be take away fish and chips and a very occasional lunch out in a cafe, perhaps twice a year. If we needed food when we were out, tinned ham sandwiches would have been pre made, English mustard on some but nothing but ham in those for we kids. The sandwiches would be washed down with tea from a thermos flask by adults and cordial for us.

Do I  feel as if I missed out when growing up? Not at all. Do I want to turn back clock? No, but the diets of young people does concern me rather a lot.

Each afternoon Melbourne Grammar lads flood out of school and flood into McDonalds opposite us. Some only buy a drink, full of sugar no doubt, but enough buy a hamburger or something quite solid. Do they then go home and have dinner as well? This is a high socia-economic group and even many of them eat very unwisely.  Without doubt there is going to be a massive obesity problem in the future, plus many of them get so little physical activity. Perhaps not so much as MGS but at many state schools.

It's a worry.

38 comments:

  1. Coffee wasn't about when i was growing up. No going out for a meal to a restaurant. Mum always took a thermos of tea if we went for a drive. Cakes, creme puffs, jelly cakes and like were served when visiting people having afternoon tea etc. Probably equivalent to some other foods today.
    Both my sons would come home from school after playing sport and eat something,, then eat dinner at 7pm plus the youngest would after that go down the road to buy McDonald's sometimes. He is still very slim at 33. It's his genes.
    you are correct though for some it's a worry for many children teenagers are already large in size, often taking after their parents & grandparents.

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    1. WA, the cakes for afternoon tea were wonderful when having visitors or visiting. We would probably have only had one cake each. We used to have Milo and something to eat when we arrived home from school and then dinner. But my mother gave us enough food to satisfy our hunger and no need for food later, unlike some neglectful mother's who may have been starving their son and forcing him to find food elsewhere! Being very slim was in my genes too, until about 40 and the genes went all wrong.

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    2. My mum would make German coffee cake with the streusel topping, sometimes a layer of apple sauce through the middle, my dad would bake slabs of plum cake, yum.

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    3. You are correct Andrew. Some mums wouldn't bother feeding their children enough...can relate to 50 and spreading :)

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    4. River, not sure what streusel topping is, but if it is anything like strudel, I would love it.

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  2. Nor do I eat at all like I did as a child, thank goodness!

    Fried bologna or Spam sandwiches, Tater tots. Breaded tomatoes... no, not the fried green tomato kind; I'm referring to a tin of tomatoes, heated, with some ripped up slices of white bread, some bacon grease, and a heaping spoonful of sugar. It's even more disgusting than it sounds, truly. Velveeta cheese. Salads were either iceberg with a couple of tomato wedges, or a foul concoction called 'wilted lettuce salad': a few leaves of lettuce with a green onion or two, coated in a combination of bacon grease, vinegar, loads of salt, and of course... sugar. One of my grandmothers made turnips and mashed potatoes with, you guessed it, sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. Boxed macaroni and cheese... the powdered cheese kind... and if we were being fancy, some hot dogs cut up in it. All of our vegetables and fruits came from tins, and even then showed up rarely.
    We drank Kool-aid and, on special occasions, Pepsi.

    Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing fresh fruit in the house at all until I was diagnosed with severe vitamin C deficiency when I was 6-7 years old. Although we were middle class, my parents grew up poor during and after the era of the Great Depression; they simply didn't know better... and from the experiences of their youth, they came to believe what was truly important was the quantity of food they could put on the table.

    Btw, if any of those foods or concoctions are unfamiliar to you, you'll probably find them on google... although you may need to look for 'wilted lettuce salad'.

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    1. Jac, I had to check Tater tots. I think I have had them but I wasn't keen. I had to check wilted lettuce, and that sounds like it might be rather good, without the salt. Blood pressure, you know. We called it just Macaroni Cheese, but it had proper cheese. Powdered cheese? I have never heard of such a thing. I think Kool-aid is cordial.

      The standard Australian meal post depression and post WWII was meat, potatoes and overcooked green vegetables but not broccoli. There was the weekly roast meal. Occasionally a stew or casserole. Remembering now, something called Riso a Riso. A precursor to risotto?

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    2. Still love balogna even though I don't think it tastes as good as it used to. We would have tinned tomatoes as a veg along side the Sunday roast.
      My Dad liked sugar sandwiches. Still loved mashed turnips with potatoes but we never added sugar to anything.
      Have never eaten Velvetta as it looks gross.
      Fun post!

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    3. I like Rice-a-Riso, it is still available here but only in Foodland Stores. I use it as a base and add other things to it.

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    4. Jackie, I will certainly try balogna when we are North America. I never saw tinned tomatoes until I was an adult. I suppose sugar sandwiches would be no worse than hundred and thousand sandwiches. Very little turnip was ever eaten in Australia, but it was in Britain. We ate pumpkin but in Britain they fed it to pigs. Velveeta was sold here, I think for children, but I have never eaten it. Not heard of it for some time.

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    5. River, I can't quite recall what Rice-a-Riso is. Is it a dry and pan fried like rice?

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  3. I can so identify with the picnic sandwiches and thermos flask when heading out as a family. Oh so many warm peanut paste or Vegemite sangas. It is a good thing our tastes individually and as a nation have moved on since then,

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    1. Carol, peanut paste? Peanut butter surely, even though there was no butter. I think for most of my school days I ate either Vegemite or jam sandwiches for lunch. Your lad is not so old. What did you give him to take to school for lunch?

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    2. I remember peanut paste, so called because it was a paste made from peanuts; it wasn't called peanut butter until many years later. I remember having to reassure my sister that it was the same product, she hadn't bought any since the name change in case she didn't like it. Didn't realise it was the same thing.

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    3. River, I feel thoroughly youthful, not knowing about peanut paste. That would be the sister in PP?

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  4. I was lucky. Some of the foods I eat and relish now were also a part of my childhood. Olives, fetta cheese, lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. My mother cooked Indonesian food superbly. Mind you, there were also things we ate which I have discarded very, very happily. Black pudding. Offal. And overcooked vegetables...
    The family didn't do take-away, and rarely ate out. If we did, it was food my mother had prepared. Financial pressures I suspect. And am grateful.

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    1. EC, German heritage, yes? Nevertheless, interesting child hood food for you. Indonesian food? Why? Mother once cooked tripe. Father loved it, but we all hated it and thankfully she never cooked it again.

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    2. My mother cooked tongue - gross.

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    3. Indonesian food because she liked the challenge. Tongue? Gross. One of the few food arguments with my father that I won. I had a bite and refused to eat something which I could feel tasting me as I tasted it. I did get the dame piece of liver for four consecutive meals - until mother told father it had gone off.

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    4. I liked liver the way my mum cooked it, the same way I now cook it, but could never stand liverwurst or black pudding.

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    5. Jackie, my step mother used to make cold tongue sandwiches and I didn't mind them, but I tried not to think about what the meat actually was.

      EC, you found offal as awful as I do now. I have eaten steak and kidney pie, but it was the texture that put me off as much as anything.

      River, kidney, liver, I confuse them. But I don't care to eat either. Your dinner invitation will declined if such food is on the menu.

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  5. I think it very much depended on what sort of family you grew up in. My mother made Russian-Mediterranean food with an Australian passion for salads: herrings, olives, smoked fish, four different white and yellow cheeses, capsicum, pickled cucumbers, tomato and rye breads/bagels. The children next door ate beef, chops and three cooked vegetables.

    Australia didn't have fast food franchises in the post war decades, so if you wanted to _buy_ food back then, you bought fish and chips out of a paper wrapping. Now the fish and chip shops seem old, crappy and half empty :(

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    1. Hels, what terrific food you had. I was the child next door, and don't forget the lamb either.

      The old fish and chips shops do still make a great hamburger. Fish in batter doesn't really agree with me now.

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  6. I remember similar crowds of school kids stopping on the way home from school and buying large amounts of snack foods at the local fish'n'chip shop which also sold burgers "with the lot"; teenage boys in particular have hollow legs and seem to be unfillable when it comes to food. If they are active most of the day and play some sort of sport as well, this isn't going to hurt them. But today's youngsters, who often sit for hours at computers and playstations, may be looking at obesity as they grow older, or even sooner.
    I remember going home and eating thick slabs of bread and butter sprinkled with salt, (or bowls of hot weet-bix in winter), but then would spend time at the beach or walking into town to the library and back home again. Skinny like a broomstick I was.
    Your share platter of breads and salads sound interesting.

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    1. River, we didn't have local shops to go to after school. Maybe just as well. Yes, kids were very active then. I think I had toast with Milo after school, probably spread with butter and Vegemite. Neighbours, who were a bit rough, fed their kids dripping on bread. I tried it once and it was horrible.

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    2. My dad and sister loved lard on bread, sprinkled with salt.
      (Schmalz and salz).
      Lard is pork fat while dripping is beef, I expect lard is sweeter, but I hated it and went with butter.

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    3. I'm with you on that River. My father being a dairy farmer had a hatred of any substitute for butter.

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  7. Interesting. I think the relative ease of international travel has also widened our culinary sense of adventure. My Mum, bless here, wasn't exactly Nigella in the kitchen so my upbringing was rather like yours. I'll eat just about anything except tripe and liver.

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    1. Craig, for Australia it is purely immigration that has widened our food choices. Offal is awful, as is tripe. There is little I don't eat, really. Oh, a certain Scottish food comes to mind.

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  8. As a kid, when Dad traveled we ate fish sticks and applesauce. When He was home, it was more like meat/potato/veggie. I liked fish sticks at the time.

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    1. Susie, I have heard of crab sticks but I wonder if fish sticks are what we call fish fingers.That is fish meat covered with crumbs and deep fried, but normally bought in a packet at the supermarket and heated in the oven.

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    2. Yes. Same thing. I used to fry mine in butter.

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  9. I certainly do not eat the same as I did as a child. In after war Germany there was not a lot of choice. And then we moved to Belgium and there I learned another kind of food and eating !

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    1. Gattina, I think it would make a good blog post for you, comparing the food of your childhood to the food you now eat.

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  10. My sister and I were discussing the meals we used to eat when we were kids. Some absolute cliched 80's meals that no one cooks these days!

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    1. Fen, there was some quite weird meals around in the 80s and 90s.

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  11. I don't remember in great detail, but I do remember my Dad loved tripe and onions which I refused point blank to even try, totally gross! I love cooking and trying out new recipes on willing victims. Oh la! If you like ice cream I can give you a recipe for home made ice cream that is soooo good and very easy ! Also, to me there is nothing nicer than a flask of coffee and a tasty sandwich in the great outdoors :) less is more works well for picnics.

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    1. Grace, I had forgotten, yes onions went with tripe. Thank you for the offer of the recipe, but perfectly good ice cream can be bought at the supermarket. Ok, at a price. I go with you for the sandwich and flask of coffee, followed by a cake, preceded by crisps. Better stop.

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