Reminiscing of Kiwiana Food
After posting, on social media, a few of my sausage roll pics I started a conversation thread with one of my page followers.
I had a wee inkling that this viewer may in fact be a kiwi herself. The reminiscing over sausage rolls, bacon and egg pie and good ole mince n cheese comments were a dead giveaway. Yes, my new Facebook friend had kiwi roots. She continued to recall all her favorites and then preceded to tell me me she was 75 years old and typing away in tears over the fond food memories!
I just felt compelled to write of my own childhood memories of food! I don't know if other countries have such classic favorites that ingrain in your memories so much as these kiwi specialties do.
Many a conversation with my funny kiwi friend, Juliet, (who has promised to do a radio campaign with me!) reminiscing in fits of giggles about our food memories. She goes, "remember Aly..remember those days catching the bus to the square ALL ALONE eating chips out of a paper bag with sauce!" (the chips we are referring to are big fat french fries, usually crinkle cut, perfectly fried and a generous serving of wattie's tomato sauce on the side...YUM!)
Juliet's Mum was super fit in my childhood memories and I always recall her running, driving an MG and serving us up the most incredible lunches! We had sardines on Vogel's bread with cracked pepper and REAL orange juice which was a huge treat. They had a walnut tree in their back yard and the pickings of which made incredible marmite and walnut sandwiches! That to me was so fancy.
My sister and I were swimmers and we were up super early for our morning practice before school. Dad would take us to the pool but not before our morning ritual of marmite on toast with lashings of butter. The butter had to be left just a few moments before you smother the marmite on. By doing this the butter soaks into the crispy toast making it even more divine! Sometimes on super special days I remember getting mince on toast (ground beef in gravy) usually leftovers from the night before' s dinner and sometimes even better still left over taters fried up.
My Dad gave me a lot of fond food memories. Our family would get in our car, I think it was a brown Morris Minor with an indicator that popped out the side rather than a flashing light, and go for Sunday drives. These drives were an outing around our neighborhood basically looking into all of their houses! Quite hilarious recalling that, how nosey! Today you would be reported. Anyhow, we would usually drive on after our noseyness to the North New Brighton bakery and get a freshly baked loaf of Sunday bread and a bunch of bananas from the store. Dad would make us up banana sandwiches with the fresh bread and again...lashings of butter! That bakery also made the most incredibly delicious custard squares, lamingtons, lolly cake and chocolate eclairs.
Fridays were the day to really look forward to Fish n Chips! It seems that every kiwi did the same on Fridays as the shop was packed that day. We would go into the fish and chip shop and order our own order wrapped individually, always in newspaper. My sister loved donuts, which were a fresh donut fried in oil then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. I loved the Hot Dogs. They were on a stick and dipped in beer batter then fried until super crispy all over. Id usually lather the hot dog in wattie's tomato sauce (ketchup) and leave it just a moment before eating. This ensured that it would get a little soggy and the mixture of crispy batter, with soggy tomato sauce was divine. The fish was shark until that became, I gather, politically incorrect.
School days were a pretty standard lunch of marmite sandwiches on really unhealthy white bread...with lashings of butter. Some days, as a super special treat, Mum would make us 100 and 1000 sandwiches! That is basically those colored sprinkles (colored sugar) you put on ice-cream, but in a sandwich of white bread...and lashings of butter. Once a week we were given money to buy our lunch. I think it was Fridays. Fridays must've been incredible! Bought lunch and then Fish n Chips for dinner. The lunch place, I recall, was a hole in a wall with a lady taking our money and giving us our order. I always ordered a Mince Pie and of course wattie's tomato sauce which you squeezed all over the pie so the pastry became soggy with tomato sauce. The combination of flaky pastry with a little tomato sogginess was heavenly.
Christmas was a celebration of family, gifts and a massive meal. We usually had roasted lamb with mint sauce, tons of veges, gravy and potatoes. Dessert was always pavlova, a huge meringue filled with fruit and whipped cream, if someone had the skills to make it, a big bowl of fruit salad and/or trifle (fruit, and sheet cake cut into squares and layered with custard and cream) and extra lashings of whipped cream. Of course it was summer so after a huge meal like this the rest of the day was often pretty lethargic.
Going to our corner dairy (7-Eleven) with a little pocket money was excitement overload. Jars of lollies (candies) were behind the counter and we laboriously asked the shopkeeper for a 10cent or if really lucky 50cent mix. We would usually take forever and ask for a combination of lollies to go in the tiny white paper bag. Can you imagine shopkeepers today patiently bagging up candies for one kid after another totaling a mere 10 cents!
Another treat was movie night. Here we could enjoy all the candies we rarely got to eat. Crunchy bars, Jaffas, Snifters, Pineapple lumps, chocolate fish, peppermint chews, minties...OMG!!!
I went home to NZ a few years ago for a holiday, after living in America for over 10 years. I was so excited to eat EVERYTHING from my childhood memories. Needless to say I nearly puked and felt terrible for days. Note to self...moderation!
So many fond memories surrounding food!
I guess that's why I take great joy in replicating a few of our kiwiana treats here in the US, it keeps the comforting memories of home close.