About

My first memory in life is of food, or more accurately, of my mother and food. It’s an image, a sun-blurred snapshot in my mind, of my bikini-clad mother at an outdoor party being handed a plate of food in the pool. I think the plate had some sort of BBQ’d meat, and probably some salad, but the feeling attached to that memory is of my two-year-old self being quite sure that she shouldn’t be eating in the pool…

In my memories since then, many things characterise the places and phases of life, but food is one of the strongest.

Some of the clearest memories are of the food I never got to eat. Let me explain.

I’m the eldest of five children, so ‘feeding the masses’ is probably a pretty good description of many of our meals. But before us, my parents were great entertainers, and they told us many stories of the dinner parties, and the food they used to eat, recipes they never made for us – things like soufflés, beef wellington, duck a l’orange and other 70s classics.

Many of the stories also covered the disasters: the huge pot of poached chickens in stock that spoiled when not chilled quickly enough, and the chicken mousse, stored in the bottom of an overstocked fridge, that was covered in a deluge of red wine after an upset, but scraped off and served anyway!

The food my parents cooked for us was mostly simple and cheap, but even during my early childhood in Adelaide, my memory is that they made most things from scratch, and that we kept our own chickens for eggs, bottled and dried fruit from the backyard and grew veges. I remember spaghetti Bolognese (that Australian classic!), roast chicken from our own chickens, beautiful little boiled eggs from our bantam hens with toast fingers to dip in, grilled cheese with apricot jam or dates under the cheese (still not sure where that idea came from), and sometimes my mother cooked food that her Hungarian mother and grandmother had taught her, like Túrós Gombóc or Kakaós (farm cheese dumplings and yeasted cake with a chocolate filling respectively).

Later, living on a small property on the mid-north coast of NSW, the vege garden grew, and we also had cows and ducks to add to the chickens. We ate very much in tune with the seasons, with annual gluts of bananas and mangoes, zucchini, corn, good old chokoes, and even turnips – I’ll tell you about those another time…

Now, quite a few years on, I cook for my own family, in between working and finishing off a renovation (it’s finished!), and trying to establish a productive garden, and the usual mishmash of modern life. This life is obviously very different, but food, good food, is still very important, and I still love cooking for family and friends, shopping at farmers’ markets for fresh produce (even if not and growing a bit of my own right now), and enjoying every last one of summer’s mangoes…

Thank you for joining me….

Beck

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19 thoughts on “About”

  1. Lovely family history. Can I ask the story behind your blog name? Why the search and why golden pudding?

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    • Thanks for asking Hannah. The search for golden pudding is another of those memories of food that isn’t really mine, but part of family folklore. Throughout my childhood I remember my mother trying to recreate a golden pudding my father had had when he was eight. He remembers it having golden syrup, and having a texture that suggested it might contain semolina, but has few memories apart from that.
      My mother has cooked many golden puddings, but none of them, while delicious, have been the golden pudding of my father’s memories.
      The blog name references both this specific search, and the broader search to, I suppose, document the meaning in what we cook and eat, and create family connections through this process….

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      • That is so sweet; our family is so tied up with food memories and love that sometimes I think food = love in our family. Like, you don’t want to turn down anything my mom cooks, or that my Dad requests. The search for the golden pudding represents almost an archetypal need/search for that perfect love and comfort!!!

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  2. Yes, I like your way of putting that… “the broader search to…document the meaning in what we cook and eat and create family connections through this process”. Our last golden pudding trial involved just that, didn’t it? – using a recipe supplied by the mother of one of our extended family. While he was present. I thought it was a wonderful moment. And that elusive golden pudding quality in the memory of your father as an 8 year old – the semolina (as he remembers it)… I think I know what it is! It’s the outer caramelized skin of the pudding plus golden syrup. Sort goes all crumbly. Next batch I’m doing in ramekins, so that there’s more of that gorgeous crumble to go around.

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  3. Thank you! and with the ‘crumbly’ texture, a wide shallow pan so the batter is only an inch or so high would have the same effect, and may have been how nana made it, rather than in a tall basin….
    Suet may help with that too…the Xmas pudding with suet certainly has a different texture, especially at the edges, to a butter cake…and shortly post war, butter may have been not commonly used?

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  4. Do you know, I’ve never thought to ask your father what shape dish Nana made the pudding in! Will do so at once. We may be close to resolving a lifetime mystery here ☺👵

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  5. It was a wide shallow dish! Mystery solved (I think). Now for the test drive… Your place, or mine?

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  6. Hi!
    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award on my site. Regardless of you choosing to take up the nomination or not I just wanted to let you know I love your posts and hope you keep up the great work.

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  7. Im enjoying your blog and have nominated you for one of my choices for a leibster award recognition, no pressure, follow the pattern on my latest post if want to join, Happy baking 🙂

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  8. It was lovely to meet you Beck at EDB15. I too spent my younger years in Adelaide and then moved up to more northern climes later on where mangos, bananas and tropical produce was in abundance. 🙂 Look forward to following you here and to hopefully catching up again in the future. Cheers, Margot

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  9. Loved reading your story! So interesting! 🙂

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