Friday, 27 June 2008

Kitchen Gardens I Remember by Maggie

Every time I take my parents (who are now 88) out or go to visit them, I ask about their lives and in particular what they ate when they were young.
Most of the food they ate came from their own gardens.
Apples, quinces, grapes, pears, stone fruits, silver beet, carrots, potatoes, berries.
Mushrooms were gathered from paddocks.
(I remember going mushroom and blackberry picking when I was a child.
They were the best mushrooms and berries ever!)
A chicken was killed and eaten for Christmas lunch and eggs were gathered from happy chooks, fed heaps of greens as they wandered around gardens watered with rain water tanks and played with carefree children.
(I remember climbing an old oak tree and playing teasets with the tops of the acorns.
We spent hours building cubby houses near the bamboo as adults weeded and pruned and had cups of tea and chatted with neighbours.)
They ate milk, meat or rabbits and bread all delivered daily by men with horse drawn carts.
The ice man would deliver ice to be placed in the ice chest to keep milk cool.
They must have bought tea, sugar and flour from grocery stores but they did not buy much else.
My Dad always complains that the food today has no taste. He is of course right, apples are sprayed with chemicals and then waxed. It is no wonder that people don't eat much fruit and vegetables from supermarkets, it don't taste good!
I don't have a photo of any of the gardens I remember, but I have vivid memories of the taste of raw milk and cream and all the wonderful flavours of fresh peaches in summer and roast pumpkin in winter!

The fruit above has now been eaten, some was bought at the Rare Fruit Society meeting in May.
The meetings are held every second month, so July grafting of fruit trees awaits us.
Check the web site for details as there will be other grafting workshops in July.
Members bring unusual fruits they have grown, to taste at supper time, it is like opening a mysterious jewelry box, amazing colours, exotic smells and delicious flavours.


Anonymous said...

I also ask my parents for their life when they're young. (My parents left their villages many years before)

My mother told me that they never thought to had greenhouse when she was child. If they had greenhouse they will had more food the difficult years after the war (she was born in 1944).

Maggie said...

Thanks for stopping by Mary, I love your blog.
The war years were so hard for so many. Many Greek families live in Adelaide, we have a large Greek community here in Unley. Every year they have a celebration and close off the street near the library and cook all sorts of things. There is dancing in the streets and lots of music.
The women of the community make honey balls and the scent wafts through the summer air.

Kate said...

Don't remind me of the smell of that dreadful durian, Maggie!!

chaiselongue said...

Yes, your last sentence says it all. Having peaches in summer and pumpkin in winter. If you eat locally grown fruit in season it tastes wonderful. It's when it travels long distances, is picked unripe and treated to please the supermarkets' standards of 'good looks' that it doesn't taste of anything. We've just eaten watermelon this evening which we bought at a roadside stall across the road from the field where it was grown and it tasted delicious! In winter we have other fruits, but this is the taste of summer in the Languedoc.