THeRe'S An AnGeL On My ShOuLdEr...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Memories in a Dish 

Isn't it strange how we often associate certain foods with the ones we love, and that we only really enjoy them when that person makes them?

We recently made a surprise visit to Queensland to visit my M-I-L. After she recovered from the shock of us turning up on her doorstep unannounced, she prepared one of her signature dishes, Bread & Butter Pudding. It was delicious! Although it's easy to prepare (even the culinary challenged like me can make it), i will not make a Bread & Butter Pudding until such time as my M-I-L can no longer do so, or if I'm requested.

I think it's important to maintain those links, the associations of favourite dishes to the ones we love. With regard to my own Mum, it's lamingtons. i generally will not eat a lamington if not made by my own Mum. They are simply the best in the world, why eat anyone else's?

I ate a sponge kiss the other day, bought on special at the local Coles. It reminded me of my Grandma (Dad's Mum). She didn't entertain often, but when she did, she would make trumpet shaped sponge kisses dusted with icing sugar and served with cups of tea in fine china cups.

My Nanna had several signature dishes. Jelly & Spanish cream (a type of set custard), gingerbread, Lily Pilly Jam (delicious - tastes like Plum), Boiled eggs with soldiers served on the plate with the daffodil and violets, strawberries picked from the garden drowned in cream & sugar, Roast lamb so tender it fell off the bone.... Nobody can make these things just like Nanna..

Actually Nanna, made sure nobody could make these things just like her. Being very possessive of her 'signature dishes', when passing on recipes to Mum, would alter them, ever so slightly, so that they would never be the same, or as nice as when she made them. Mum is still trying to perfect the gingerbread recipe. Nanna was a funny one at times....

I'm not really sure if I have a signature dish. If i do, it's probably Lasagne, or a potato bake. Hardly anything terribly inspiring. I shall have to develop some more......

Do you have a signature dish? What are the signature dishes made by the ones you love?
Do you think it's important to maintain that exclusivity of the dish to the person? Or am I just a sentimental old sap?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blog from the Past 

This is something a little different for you. Before my Nanna passed away aged 98, she wrote a piece about her life story between the years 1905 to 1920. I found it interesting, and I think anyone interested in history, particularly local history, will also find it interesting. I've left the spelling and grammar intact as it appeared in the original document.

Anyway, here it is. The story of Gladys Hildegard Standen (nee Treloar)

Chapter one

The Farm

One Tank Homestead - Bower

My parents lived on a farm just out from Bower, which is halfway between Eudunda and Morgan. My dad was a councillor in the Morgan District Council

Morgan District Council. Dad on back row with tall hat

I had three sisters and one brother, Ruby, Pearl, Lot and Stan. My sisters were much older than I.

I was born at Eudunda and lived on the farm until I was about seven. We didn't live in a big house - what I can remember it was three rooms. Out at the side of the house was a big cellar. The other side of the cellar was an oven made of bricks. It was quite a large one. Mother made our bread in it twice a week I think and she had big high tins to make the Hi-top loaves like we have today. I think about six loaves at a time. She always made her own yeast from potatoes sugar and hops. When the bread was made it was put in the tins and left near the stove inside, covered by a blanket and left to stand overnight. I think the outside over was filled with wood and left to burn overnight. In the morning the coals would be scraped out and tins of bread would go in. I can't remember what kind of door it had to keep the heat in, but I do remember how I loved that hot crusty bread.

We had a stove in the kitchen in the big fireplace. An oven with just Iron bars over it with a kettle always on the boil. The stove was always painted black. Curtains with red flowers on them hung from the mantelpiece and were pulled around to hide the stove when it wasn't lit.

There was a Camp Oven outside, probably used in hot weather to keep the kitchen cool.

We had four cows - Cherry, Brindle, Flower and Blossom. Lot always milked the cows then mother would strain the milk. We had three very big pans and the milk would go in to them and they were put on top of the wood stove to scald, then when it was cold it would be put down into the cellar for a few days. Then mother would skim the beautiful cream from the milk. When she had enough cream she made butter with it. Made by hand with wooden butter 'Pats'. When Dad went into Bower he would sell the butter. I guess in those days it would have only brought five or six pennies a pound.

We kept a lot of fowls and I can remember packing dozens of eggs into a wooden box with chaff to stop them breaking. I think they were only worth tuppence a dozen.

We also kept Pigs. I guess they were fed on Bran and Pollard and the lovely milk that was over. I loved the little piglets but not the big ones.

We had a lot of horses, black ones and brown ones, I think Dolly was the mother. We had a lot of sheds to keep them in and to store the wheat, and big hay stacks outside. We usually had two dogs. I remember one was called Dash. He was bitten by a snake and died, he was tan and black, then we had a big black one, and he was called Watch.

Dad would cut the wood and Lot would help him load it up on a wagon, which had a high frame around it to keep the wood stacked high. Dad would take that into Bower with the Butter and eggs to sell.

When Dad killed a poor pig Lot had to help him. We had another cellar that was a smokehouse. When dad killed a pig it was all hung in there and smoked. At Christmas time Dad would pack a big box to be sent down to Kapunda to my Grandma Treloar's house. A leg of ham, butter and eggs. I am sure she would have enjoyed that. One year, someone in the railways stole it. Poor Grandma was very disappointed and so was Dad.

Glad at Grandmas house 1993

I have always loved Christmas. I remember Mother always worked hard to make things nice and always made Gingernuts and iced them. When Dad went into Bower each week, he would bring home the 'Chronicle' the weekly country paper. The outside cover was pink and I think Mother saved all the pink pages and at Christmas would cut the paper into strips and make a long chain, each loop about two inches long. She would make one loop in pink and the next one white and they would be stuck together with paste made with plain flour and boiling water. These chains would be hung from the ceiling, one corner to another. We thought they were beautiful. We always had a big branch from a tree, not a pine tree, for our Christmas Tree. I can't remember what we decorated the tree with, but my brother Stan always left a bottle of Ginger Beer and some Gingernuts for Father Christmas. Mother always made Ginger Beer and Dad made Hop Beer in a cask, We had an organ and mother played while she and Dad sang. They both sang nicely.

I remember one Christmas I got a lovely Sleeping Doll. It had two strings hanging under her pretty dress. When I pulled one she would say 'Mama', and if I pulled the other one she would say 'Papa'. She was beautiful.

Stan, Glad and Sleeping doll

We did have neighbours about a mile away. Their name was Mr. and Mrs Finn. They had four children, all older than Stan and I. I think Tom Finn was about the same age as my sister Lot. I think they liked each other. One of Tom's sisters died of Consumption (TB). That was probably the reason why Lot and Tom did not finish up together as TB was contagious, or perhaps they were too young. Mr Finn had a Gramophone and when they came to visit they always brought it with them and a lot of nice records, cylinder shape. The Gramophone was put on legs and it had a big trumpet to it, one like 'His Master's Voice' I think my sister lot was bridesmaid for their eldest daughter Rose. I guess that was lovely for Lot. The wedding was held at Angaston. We had a lot of music that day.

Another thing I remember was our Lime Kiln. Dad must have scooped out the big hole. It looked like a room without a roof. There were a lot of limestones on the Farm and we all helped to collect them. Dad cut a lot of wood and would put a layer of wood then a layer of stones until the hole was filled. I don't know how Dad got this burning, but it burnt for ages until it was all burnt down and the fire was out. I can't remember the smell it made, bit have been told it did smell. All that was left was powdered lime. Mother would put some powder in a bottle and add water to it. We would have a drink of this each morning. I am sure I didn't like it, but it was supposed to be good for our bones, but the main reason for the making the lime was for White Washing the house, inside and out, also the cellar, brick oven and the 'Loo' which was a long way from the house.

We only had two big square iron tanks. Not having a big house we didn't catch much rain up there. We had a dam not too far from the house. In the summer I would live to go down to the dam at sunset. There would be rabbits and lots and lots of lovely little birds there for a drink. When our ranks were empty Dad had to cart water. He would put one of the square tanks on the wagon and go a long way to get it filled. I don't know he got the tank on the wagon by himself.

Dad had a man to help him when it was harvest time. He had his meals with us and on summer nights Mother would put a large Tarpaulin on the ground. We didn't have any lawn or grass near the house so we would sit on that and George would tell Stan and me stories about wild animals. We had two Pepper Trees in front of the house but water was so scarce we only had a small garden to grow vegetables. Growing around and near the house was mostly low salt bushes. In springtime we would find some pretty wildflowers and a lot of yellow and white everlasting flowers. They were pretty and last a long time. Mother must have grown Sunflowers. I remember she had two pretty green vases she would put the Sunflowers in them and stand them on the organ.

The paths around the house were always swept, even the long one up to the Loo.

When the wheat was almost ready to reap, one block was a long way up through the trees and about mid-day Stan and I would have to go to this paddock to chase the Emus away from the wheat. Sometimes there would be a big flock of them. We would hear the Kangaroos fighting during the night.

The Eudunda show was on in September and this must have been the highlight of my dear Mother's life. We would all go down to Eudunda in the cart. Mum and Dad, I can't remember where Lot sat, must have been on the seat, Stan and I on the floor at the back. It nearly always rained that day. I think Stan and I stayed with Aunt Susie (Dad's sister) in Eudunda. What I remember most about that day was having a coconut. The day before the show we would pick a lot of thistles for our blue rabbit and fill up his cage. He was lovely, we had him for years. Sometimes we would put a piece of string around his neck and take him for a walk. One day Dad found a lovely little yellow bunny, but it died.

The farm was very hot in summer and very cold in winter. We always had a big plate of porridge for breakfast to keep us warm.

We sometimes drove into Bower, there was only one shop there. I think Lot would drive us in. Prince was always the horse Lot used. Once, I remember we went up to Morgan for a picnic down by the river. I thought that was lovely, to watch the Punt crossing the river with horses and carts on it. I don't think anyone had motor cars in those days.

I can't remember having any Children's books like they have these days. We had copybooks to learn writing. Mother was our only Teacher. I always remember her reading us the book 'Swiss Family Robinson'. We must have been very good children, I can’t ever remember having a slap.

Mother was a good cook and would make lovely sponges (I can see her now beating the eggs with a fork) and apple pies and wild peach pies when they were in season. I guess we had plenty of cream on the pies. Mother also made lovely Cornish Pasties. When Dad was working in the faraway paddock Stan and I would take a big one up at lunchtime.

We had a big swing, also a seesaw, but we were never allowed to ride a horse.

When we left the farm we went to live at Eudunda.

Grandma's house in the Main Street of Eudunda

My great Grandma Grace Grandma Catherine with one of my Aunts

Chapter two

Leaving the Farm

Mother - taken 1910. Susan Adelaide Treloar (nee Hele)

Father - taken 1910. Thomas Henry Treloar

I really can't remember what it was like leaving the farm. I do remember when we arrived at Eudunda in our wagon. The furniture piled high and our Blue rabbit in his cage. I don't think I told you about our little blue grey parrot we kept in a wire cage. He was so pretty with yellow and red on each side of his head and he could talk and whistle 'There is no luck about the house, there is no luck at all', he was also on the wagon and one dog, grey and white, His name was Tozer. Dash was bitten by a snake.

The house we lived in now was 3 1/2 miles the other side of Eudunda. Between Eudunda and Point Pass was a little German School. This was where Stan and I first started school. It really wasn't any good for us, not mixing with other children before this, and the children at this school could only talk German. Our Teacher was nice, she could talk English and her young sister would come and stay sometimes. I liked her, she could speak English too. Our Teacher's name was Miss Zerk. We did learn the Ten Commandments, The Catechism book was in German on one side and English on the other. On our exam day the only question we were asked was 'If a window had 3 panes across the top and 3 panes down the side, how many panes in the window?' The school was decorated with branches of gum trees and bows of pink ribbon. On our desk was half a Pomegranate, we had never seen one of those before. That was our Exam day.

The only thing that this school had in its favour was that we only had a short walk to go each morning. On our way home, sometimes we would see little Plovers nesting in the grass but they didn't like us coming close, they would fly at our heads to peck us.

When we were living there it was only Mother Stan and I. Lot had gone to live with our Aunties, Dad's sisters. Aunt Louie had two sons but Uncle had died, and Aunt Kate (I have forgotten the name of that Uncle).

They had a Boarding House in Broken Hill. I guess Lot thought that was nice after living in the bush. I think Lot was 21 then. My sister Pearl was living in Eudunda with Aunt Susie, another one of Dad’s sisters. Pearl would come out to see us. Then Pearl met Rob Downie and he would come out too. At this time Dad was share farming in Pinnaroo, but that didn't last very long, it was almost in line with our farm so the drought was through there too.

Stan and I didn't stay at that school for long, so it meant that we walked into Eudunda Public School 7 miles a day, rain or heat. While we were living there Mother was ill for weeks with Rheumatic Fever. I remember she had to be propped right up in bed. Dr Purvis from Eudunda would ride out almost every day on his lovely grey horse. There were no drugs in those days. My eldest sister Ruby was working in Adelaide at the time but she came home to nurse dear Mum. Mother had also had Rheumatic Fever when she was 18, that was why she had a weak heart. I think after that we moved into Eudunda to live so it was much better for Stan and I to go to school. Dad came home soon after we moved into Eudunda

Rear: Ruby Lot Pearl; Front: Glad Dad Stan Mother

We lived almost in the main street. We had a vacant block of land next to us. One time we had Wirth's Circus come there with all their animals. We had a Fig tree that side of the house and Elephant ate that. I think they gave us free tickets, we thought the circus was great.

By this time the First World War had started.

Stan and I started School in the First Class. Our teacher was very nice. Later when I was in Third class some of us were picked to sing in a school concert in the Town Hall. Mrs Edwards, our Headmaster's wife took us into her home to practice singing. She said to me 'You have a nice voice, it would be good if you could have it trained'. Of course that was impossible. In that concert we sang 10 Little Nigger Boys. We 10 girls stood on a form and wore white dresses with blue ribbon in our hair. Ten boys with blackened faces stood in front of us. As we sang one little nigger boy and so on we would push their shoulders and they would bob down. One of the boys lost his pants when he bobbed. It was fun, I think I was about 10 then. I was in another concert later when we all had Tambourines with red white and blue ribbons hanging on them. They were concerts to raise money for the Red Cross First World War effort.

When I was in first class and second class, each year for sewing, we had to make a pillowcase, and each year I put them in the Eudunda Show. I also entered an arrangement of wild flowers I roamed the hills for. Each year I got first prize for sewing and the flowers. I was very happy about that.

About that time Pearl and Rob were married in Eudunda. Rob's sister and I were kind of flower girls. We carried shepherd's crooks and thought we were great.

Chapter Three


Dad and Mum on the verandah of 15th Street House.

Later on Dad and Stan went to Renmark. I can't remember how long they had been gone when Mum and I left Eudunda to go to Renmark too. Dad had a house for us next door to the Methodist church. That was where I lived until I came to Adelaide. I went to the Renmark School for about two years and made some nice friends. Madeline and Jean Proudfoot were good pals of mine, they lived right up the river end by the pumping station. They kept silkworms and when they went away I would go up there to feed them. We would go roller skating Saturdays. There was an open skating rink on the corner of Renmark Avenue and 15th Street.

Pearl and Rob came to live at Berri and when Pearl had little Joan she wasn't well for some time and Mum went down to help there. I stayed home from school to look after Dad and Stan, schools were not so strict then about attendance I am sorry to say, and no High School up there in those days.

Some Sundays Dad would hire a horse and sulky and we would go down to Berri to see Pearl and Rob. Little Joan died at seven months. I loved her very much.

Later I was a Sunday school teacher and would play the organ for Sunday school. One day I played the Organ for morning Church and one morning I went to Paringa and played for a service. I was also in the choir.

Mr Hisgrove had his cool drinks and ice factory across the street from us. I guess it was awful for poor Mum and Dad, in the summer it would be working day and night. It didn't worry me then. Mr Hisgrove had also had a shop down Murray Ave by the picture theatre, sweets drinks and icecreams, he wanted me to go and work in the shop but Dad didn't want me to do that.

Lot came home about then, poor mum was sick and was in the Renmark Hospital. When I was 18 she was there for three weeks. Her Dr. lived down 15th Street and would ride his push bike up to visit mum, poor darling, she wasn't very well in those days.


And that, unfortunately, was all she could commit to paper before her health failed. It's a great shame, for we lose too much of our history and lament it's loss after we are able to capture it.

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