Saturday, 27 December 2014

Family, Food and Feasts

 As each one of you have your own stories and traditions, our family has its own unique traditions and special way of doing things.

You can read about my Granny Fincham and here Christmas Feast here

When it came to Granny Barlow’s turn, she laid the table with lace and cutlery with ivory handles. The table would be packed with a deboned leg of lamb, which was stuffed with cheese and dried peaches. There would be a lamb pie with little pastry figures on the top. There would always be mashed potato with cream and green beans with nutmeg. The pudding was a feast; a choice of our favourite royal bread pudding, sago (or as Grandpa Jimmy called it – frogs eggs) and little “souskluitjies” (a type of sweet dumpling in syrup) Granny was a Ferreira and she could bake biscuits without taking a breath. Sugar biscuits, coffee biscuits, custard biscuits, coconut biscuits, with cardamom and milk tarts. There is just too much to try and remember. We were allowed to help with the vetkoek (type of doughnut) and we would watch to see the different shapes as the dough landed in the hot oil. Granny Sannie could “can and jam” and she was also very active in the Women’s Agricultural Union.
Grandpa Jimmy, Granny Sannie, and their children.
My mom is standing on the right next to Granny.
My dearest mom Florence had to really exert herself to keep up with her but she had her own unique style. We lived about 60km from the nearest town so she had to be able to improvise as I had four brothers! Bread was always being baked. My father would knead it and my mother would put it into the bread pans. We would each be given a piece of dough which we baked in our own tin can and we were given the lightest scones made with cream. Sunday morning breakfast was sardines and onions on toast. This was the only day we had toast and I am sure it was because all the old bread had magically been turned into toast.
We went to town once a month and we did our shopping at Solomon’s Store. We drank milkshakes at the Waldorf CafĂ© with its paintings of The Great Trek on the walls. At the end of the day we would go to the drive in and the picnic basket would be taken out of the trunk of the car. There were always Scotch eggs, scones in small tins, potted pies, ginger beer, droe wors and biltong. Something sweet was normally Mum’s famous tarts which she had baked in the lids from the glass Consol bottles. We would also have a packet of toffees. She taught me about brandy snaps, filled pastry horns, koeksisters with sour dough and Angel cake. Needless to say, Mum was also a champion at the Women’s Agricultural Union!
The Five Finchams - many moons ago!!
Now with the passage of time it is my turn to host the Celebrations. I am no chef – in fact it even sounds too technical for me, more like the name of a car than the person lovingly preparing a gastronomical feast. I consider myself to be more of a culinary custodian. I have the task of continuing our families tradition of celebrating this Season of Joy with wonderful food. I am fortunate to have had all these wonderful women in my life and all I need do now is to remember, and cook. There is no need for me to change a thing – their recipes have stood the test of time.

What I may want to add is pasta and fish. Our favourite pasta is Putanesca or pasta for “the ladies of the night.” A piece of salmon marinated in soya sauce or whiskey smoked always goes down well too. I love oven-roasted vegetables, biltong quiches and cheesecake.

Lots of blessing from South Africa 

Thank you for all the wonderful friends whom are sharing this story!!!

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