Good Times

I decided to reblog this post which I wrote in 2016 because it has been three years now that David has been gone. I like to remember the good times we had.

Our Other Blog: Two Sisters and Two Points of View

David at Port Huon 2014 David at Port Huon 2014

One of the things that David and I enjoyed was going for a drive together. Sometimes we had a plan, where we would go and what we would do, other times we just picked a direction. David always carried a camera in the car, he was old school and still using film cameras long after I’d switched to a digital camera.

After I started this blog I would sometimes ask him if we could go for a drive so I could take photos of something or other. Every year for about five years we would go for a drive along the Channel Highway when the scarecrow competition was being held and David would stop the car every time I spotted one I wanted to photograph. When I said that I wanted to photograph the apple blossoms he happily drove me around the orchards till I…

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Vegetable Vengeance

onion and garlic on white surface
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my last food-related post I mentioned I wrote about how cabbage smells bad when boiled for too long. I was doing a bit of reading about it before writing that post and found an article that said that cabbage is one of a family of plants that defends itself. Cabbage contains sulfur compounds that are released in the cooking process. The longer you cook it the worse the smell. Another member of this family is the onion. Onions are mean, they make me cry.

This is a description of what happens when you peel onions.

Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids as you slice into an onion. These enzymes which were isolated are now free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce ​propanethial S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound gas which wafts upward and into your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.

https://www.thoughtco.com/why-do-onions-make-you-cry-604309

All I know is that I find it extremely difficult to peel onions as my eyes get sore and watery. It was a kitchen chore I would always pass off to David who didn’t seem to be affected by it.

There are supposedly a few cures for it. Someone told me that eating dry bread would help. Well, I enjoyed the bread but I still cried.

Wearing safety goggles over my glasses had not occurred to me. I am not sure I’d do that if I had them I’d probably just forget until it was too late. I’ve also read that rubbing your hands on a stainless steel odour absorber can help.

Somehow I feel passing the onion chopping job to someone else is still a better idea. Or possibly just buying frozen onions. As it is I keep a box of tissues handy when I have to do this job.

 

 

The Democratic Sausage

Update: Shortly after I wrote this piece I found this article online. Some commenters remarked that they had not heard the term Democracy Sausage before and I confess that I picked it up from the Facebook poster who inspired me to write this post. However, our love of sausage sizzles on election day cannot be questioned.

 

Here in Tasmania, we have local government elections this month. This is particularly interesting for us in the Huon Valley as for the past couple of years we’ve had no elected councilors and the area has been run by an Administrator. This was due to problems with the previous council that ended up in all the council members being dismissed by the state government. Naturally, there is a high level of interest in this election and although voting is not compulsory we’re expecting there will be a high percentage of votes returned.

This will be a postal vote so no need to physically go to the polls and on one of the many local social media forums I’ve been following someone remarked that he was disappointed that he would not get to enjoy his democratic sausage on election day.

So what is the Democratic Sausage? I have no idea what happens in other countries but here in Australia voting normally takes place at a local school, church, hall or other public building. Elections are held on a Saturday so it is a great opportunity for community fundraising.

Democracy Sausage
Barbecue
Where David and I used to live in Adelaide our nearest polling booth was at the local school. Whenever there was an election the school would hold a sausage sizzle and sometimes there would be cakes and handcrafts for sale as well. As voting is compulsory here in Australia, except for local government, everyone eligible has to turn up to vote at some point. Getting a sausage on a piece of bread with onion and tomato sauce somehow makes the experience less of a chore and more of a Saturday morning outing for the family. It’s also a nice little earner for the school, church, sporting club or charity so on election day the smell of barbecued sausages and onions wafts all over the country.

Our Op Shop in Geeveston is in the grounds of the local primary school and we always try to open the shop one Saturday a month for people who can’t make it on weekdays. Last time there was a state election and we found out that the school would be the polling booth we knew that was the day to open the shop.

Outside the Op Shop

So if your local community has a fundraiser at a polling booth I recommend that you go along. You can exercise your right to vote, catch up with friends and neighbours and enjoy the Democratic Sausage. What could be better?

(Sausage)Link:

https://www.electionsausagesizzle.com.au/

 

Cabbage

If you were to ask me what vegetable I like the least I think it would be a toss-up between spinach and cabbage.

I’ve got nothing against them as vegetables but I didn’t have a good introduction to either in my younger years.

basil leaves and avocado on sliced bread on white ceramic plate
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Spinach didn’t figure very largely during my childhood. I mostly knew it as something that Popeye ate out of a can. It didn’t look appetising. Later I was introduced to frozen spinach. David liked it so I’d buy it sometimes but to me, it was a green soggy mess.  I’ve cooked with fresh spinach and while I think it has a better texture than the mushy stuff I am still not enthusiastic about it.

So much for spinach.

Cabbage, as a child I really hated it. Mum used to boil it and it smelled terrible. I still remember an old ad for air freshener. Husband comes home and asks if his wife is cooking cabbage.

“How did you know?” she asks

“The whole street knows.” was the reply.

Boiled cabbage stinks. It also looked revolting, white and soggy, it looked as unappetising as it tasted. I didn’t often refuse food at mealtimes but mum had a hard time getting me to eat boiled cabbage.

It wasn’t until I was much older and discovered coleslaw that I could bear to eat cabbage at all. I also learned that there were other types of cabbage. Red cabbage and the curly leafed Savoy cabbage. They made salads more interesting but I still don’t really like cabbage cooked.

closeup photo of pink and white kaleidoscope artwork
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
Cabbage
A Savoy cabbage with curly leaves.

In mum’s day there was no Google to ask for a better way to cook cabbage and even if there was I doubt that she would have done it. I did though and learned that cabbage contains sulfur compounds which are aggravated by long cooking. If you cook it quickly it doesn’t stink. How I wish I’d know that years ago. I might have cooked it myself sometimes. As it is I might make or buy a coleslaw in warm weather but apart from throwing it in the wok to stir fry it, I wouldn’t normally eat it in cooler weather. I prefer my food crunchy or chewy to mushy anyway.

Apparently, one way to make cabbage less soggy is to salt it prior to cooking. You shred the cabbage, toss it with the salt and leave it in a colander for an hour before squeezing it out. I would not have thought of this because I practically never add salt to food either before or after cooking. I may wave the salt cellar at the pot when cooking boiled eggs, pasta and potatoes but the idea of putting a whole tablespoon of salt into food would never have occurred to me.

I really wrote this post in order not to waste a nice photo of a Savoy cabbage that I took last week but it has got me thinking that I might try a few different cabbage recipes. Maybe after more than 50 years, I might start to like eating cooked cabbage.

 

Links:

https://oureverydaylife.com/cook-cabbage-smell-36005.html

https://www.thekitchn.com/3-mistakes-to-avoid-when-cooking-cabbage-228334

 

 

The Night Mum Saw A Ghost

Mum’s family moved about quite a bit after returning to England from India in the early 1930’s. During World War Two the family was based in Liverpool for a while.

The Liverpool docks were important to the war effort and this meant that  Liverpool was the most frequently bombed city after London.

My mother’s family late 1930s. Mum was 16 when this photo was taken. She is the tall one.

Mum was in her nineteenth year when war broke out and she was living at home with her parents and three sisters.  When we were young mum often used to tell stories about her youth and about what it was like living in Britain during the war. Sadly, although we always meant to, we didn’t write the stories down which means that now mum has been gone twenty years I have forgotten many of the details. I can’t tell you exactly where or when this event took place. I will try to tell the story to the best of my recollection.

I do know that Liverpool was bombed heavily between August 1940 and the early part of 1942 so this occurred somewhere in that time period. I also have a vague memory that mum said that family had lived in Bootle but I would not swear to this.

Anyway, the important thing to know was that there were frequent air raids and that when the alarm sounded everyone was supposed to go to the nearest air raid shelter.

As well as the family there were also three Norwegian Merchant Navy sailors staying in the house.  Mum did not particularly trust one of them so when she went up to her bedroom on the top floor of the house she used to take the doorknob off the door and push a chest in front of it.

On this particular night, mum had gone to bed and was reading by lamplight before going to sleep. Her dog was on the bed with her. She became aware of a figure standing over her bed. Thinking her father had come in to tell her to turn the lamp off she said “In a minute dad.” or something of that nature. Then she remembered that the door was blocked off. She noticed that the dog was reacting strangely, his hair standing up on his back.  She told me that she wasn’t afraid but puzzled.

Suddenly one of her sisters started banging on the bedroom door and calling out to her. “Air raid! We’ve got to go to the shelter.” Of course, she had to move the chest and put the doorknob back in but she made it out of the house safely.

Mum said there was no way anyone could have got into the room without at least making a lot of noise and she was always convinced that she saw a ghost that night and that he’d been sent to warn her of danger. She told this story on many occasions and the details never varied so I am sure she was not making it up.

Links:

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/exhibitions/blitz/blitz.aspx

http://www.liverpoolblitz70.co.uk/2012/07/25/i-wonder-if-theyll-come-tonight/

 

 

Liverpool Blitz D 5983.jpg
By Ministry of Information Photo Division official photographer –
This is a photograph D 5983 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

 

Straight From Rubbish Tip To You

One of my favourite Bloggers, Life in the Boomer Lane, recently wrote about her trials with flies around the house.

This prompted me to remember how trigger happy mum used to be with fly spray. I honestly don’t know if the fly sprays of the sixties and seventies are exactly the same formula as those of today but their smell was way stronger it seemed. Certainly by the time mum got through with it we were nearly choking.

When we were children  in the mid sixties fly spray was dispensed from a different type of container, aerosol cans were just coming on to the market I think.

Cervo093.jpg
By Georges Jansoone (JoJan) – Self-photographed, CC BY 3.0, Link

In Australia the most well known brand was Mortein which was advertised on television with a catchy little jingle sung by “Louie the Fly”. Everyone knew it.

Louie the Fly, I’m Louie the Fly
Straight from rubbish tip to you.
Spreading disease, with the greatest of ease.
Straight from rubbish tip to you.
I’m bad and mean and mighty unclean.
Afraid of no-one, ‘cept the man with the can of Mortein.
Hate that word Mortein.
One spray and Louie the Fly,
Apple of his old mother’s eye was Louie,
Poor dead Louie, Louie the Fly a victim of Mortein.
Mortein.

Out of curiosity I looked up Mortein and learned some interesting bits of trivia about the advertising campaign.

Mortein was first developed in Australia in the 1870s by German immigrant J. Hagemann, the name being a combination of mort (French: “dead”) and ein (German: one). Mortein was manufactured by Samuel Taylor Pty Ltd from 1937. The company is now owned by the British company Reckitt Benckiser.

Louie first appeared in 1957, the year I was born. He was drawn and animated by Geoffrey Morgan-Pike.

The famous jingle was created in 1962 by none other than Bryce Courtenay during his time at advertising agency McCann Erickson.

Louie was voiced by Australian actor Ross Higgins. Australians will remember him from “The Naked Vicar Show” and especially for his character “Ted Bullpitt” in “Kingswood Country“which was a popular sitcom in the early eighties. It might not be considered very PC now but David and I found it hilarious although like most sitcoms the later series are not as funny as the early ones.

As an aside I remember seeing Ross Higgins advertising rival product Pea-Beu in the eighties. Pea-Beu also had a catchy jingle.

At the end of this post you can see an early Mortein jingle from the sixties and one of the many commercials Ross Higgins did for Pea-Beu from around 1980. I  can still remember all the words to the Louie the Fly song. Only a year or so ago Mortein did an advertising campaign based on whether or not they should drop Louie.They didn’t and here is a piece about him on the Mortein website.

http://www.mortein.com.au/about/about-louie/

 

Times Past: The Biggest Change

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Baby Boomer: Australia Suburban

It is hard to pick just one thing that as the biggest change in my lifetime. About the only thing that hasn’t changed is that we still have the same Queen.

One very big change that has occurred in my lifetime is that here in Australia we no longer manufacture goods the way we did when I was a child.

When I was growing up there were numerous factories. In Elizabeth where I lived for several years there were factories making jeans, sewing machines, white goods and of course cars at the Holden plant. I can remember when I was a child that at around four o’clock our normally quiet suburban street would suddenly be full of cars as workers returned home after their shifts at the factory.

An ad from an old Woman’s Day from 1976.

In other suburbs around Adelaide there were more factories, Chrysler, later Mitsubishi with two plants and other factories who supplied them with parts, Actil  made towels and bed linen, Golden Breed made T-shirts and sweatshirts, Perry Engineering, Castalloy, Hills Industries, Simpson, Pope, Kelvinator, Sabco and Clipsal were all names that South Australians knew.

Ford had their factory in Geelong, Victoria and there was another Holden plant at Fisherman’s Bend.  We even had our own toy manufacturers, Cyclops, Metti, Verna to mention a few.

Frigidaire advertisement from an old magazine 1948 so a bit before my day.

Today many of those companies are gone. Cars are no longer manufactured or even assembled in Australia. You can’t buy an Australian made fridge and many other products formerly made here are now made in other countries where labour is cheaper. Even here in Tassie our Blundstone boots are now made overseas.

I think it is very sad. We were proud of our Australian brands and those factories provided employment and a decent wage for many.

Below you can read an article on the closing of the last Holden factory, the one in Elizabeth not far from where I used to live.

Holden made in Australia 1948 – 2017

 

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/motoring/australian-car-manufacturing-reaches-the-end-of-the-line-today-as-holden-closes-elizabeth-factory/news-story/4cf69f8466a9750c690d3775f6487d97

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-11/timeline-holden-history/5150240