Monday, January 6, 2014

Don't mock the lamb

House and home magazines over Christmas shared with us old recipes from someone's grandmothers handwritten book with jam drops, boiled fruit cakes, preserves and chutneys that gave us all a warm vintage yuletide glow.  On a recent rummage through an opportunity shop I discovered the family favourite cookbook for the 1970's.  Not a great era for foodies I believe, the birth of low fat food and compulsory dinner parties sent most competent bakers packing with rolling pins replaced by fondue sets and sizzling steak platters.  According to my 1977 edition of the Australian Women's Weekly ORIGINAL COOKBOOK (their capitals not mine) nothing could liven up a party more than a pineapple.  This cookbook is a burnt orange reminder that in this era it was all about impressing the neighbours - back in the days when we actually knew who they were.  With chapters dedicated to 'International Cookery' as if from faraway undiscovered lands we were introduced to Roast Pork for the first time.  I'm pretty sure pigs have been in this country well before the 1970's but maybe we just kept them as pets or didn't know where bacon came from.  Words like tropical and flamed come up often and guests will be in awe of anything with 'a la Creme' in its title.  Canapes are partying hard being Titbits, Stuffed or on Horseback and the recipe for Tomato Soup requires a 500g can of condensed tomato soup!  The drinks are punches and the salads are basic with a Classic Green Salad requiring 1 lettuce and 1 french dressing but we invited people over anyway.  We've come a long way from tinned asparagus tips and dried basil but the recipe for Mock Ham should be treasured for ever.  Just not sure where one would get a pumped corned leg of lamb from and since when did sheep start going the gym?  And yes, it comes with canned pineapple.  Start the party now.

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