We had a birthday celebration for my mother last weekend. It was reasonably casual and we decided to have brunch at our family beach house at Barwon Heads.
My sister prepared and served all the food which was just superb. The menu was freshly baked apple and cinnamon muffins, yoghurt with
rhubarb compote and granola, bagels with smoked salmon, egg and bacon pies, fresh fruit, orange juice, tea and coffee.Those family who could be in attendance were and we had about 20 people aged from a few months to mid-eighties.
It reminded me of family gatherings when I was a child. I can remember being part of such occasions when I was as young as four. In fact, my father gave me a copy of some old home movies taken when I was about that age. It was mostly footage of holidays in Barwon Heads and Queensland, as well as some Christmas festivities in the late sixties and early seventies.
I am not the first to observe this, but what struck me was how simple life was then.
Our summer holidays were spent going to the beach, eating ice cream, barbecue outdoors and running around outside. Later we would fish, surf and play tennis and golf but for my first dozen years I did a lot of running and exploring outside.
My other observation was the simplicity of the food offering. There was certainly not the array of food my sister prepared on the weekend. Brunch, of course, was not even a word!
The family outdoor meal consisted of chops, sausages, bread and a salad. Not that it wasn’t delicious or prepared without love; it was. It’s just that it was uncomplicated. But perhaps that was a child’s perspective. After all, I wasn’t involved in the purchasing, cooking and serving of any meals. And the facilities for food preparation by today’s standards, were prehistoric.
The other factor was seasonality. We take it for granted that we can buy the best pineapple, strawberries and avocado almost year-round.
But when I was a child, we only ate pineapple in Queensland, because that is where it was grown (I was well into my teens before I ate avocado).The variety, abundance and quality of ingredients has progressed in leaps and bounds.
Following is a recipe for egg and bacon pie. A family favourite which never seems to go out of fashion.