Jolly Olde England Blog
“Spreading love, one recipe at a time!”
The back-story that inspired the recipes that inspired the menu. Foodie stories with adventure and sometimes intrigue, co-mingling together! Let me take my paintbrush, paint the scene and the mood to take you to this wonderful, alluring country. With every bite comes a memory; it’s all about experiencing a captivating journey.
Inspired quote to love by: “Love lives in cottages as well as in court.” ~ English Love Proverb
Travelogue: The Inspiration
Where: My Mom’s kitchen
When: My childhood
Mood: Happy, happy
Emotion: Joy and love
A lifetime of British Fare
I have a family story to serve up with this menu! Our family immigrated to Canada from England when I was four years old. Therefore, I grew up with a lifetime of mainly British fare. Many might consider traditional British fare a bit on the bland side, although I would never, ever consider my Mom’s cooking “bland.” Never! Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t take this the wrong way! You are a great cook! Growing up I loved your comfort food dishes, albeit from what I recall you rarely made Liver ‘n Onions (because I’m sure we didn’t like them) and I don’t think you ever made mushy peas! Did you? You did, however, make mean mashed potatoes and I loved your rice pudding! Ahhh pure comfort. This rice pudding recipe has a little bit of a unique spin on it. I added an exotic ‘taste of India’ with the cardamom spice. I hope you don’t mind.
My favourite dishes, made by Mom’s loving hands, were our Sunday Roast Beef Dinners – complete with Yorkshire Pudding and lots of gravy – the best (thanks Mom). I loved the well-done to sometimes burnt end pieces of the roast beef, I loved the caramelization (ha, I didn’t even know this culinary term back then but I knew what I liked)! And one unique dish that my Mom made was bread sauce, I loved it with its nutmegy flavour. What could be better? A nice quiet Sunday meal with my family at the dinner table, all of the dishes oh so well-done. I say this because well-done typically equals quiet which equals no crunching while eating. I have no idea why, but loud crunching of food drives me crazy especially when eating with family. So…Sunday dinners were perfect. I could have eaten Sunday dinner every night of the week! Well done, soft and delicious, a perfect combination!
Mom also made curry, I didn’t quite get that connection for a long, long time. I wondered to myself “Why would you eat curry if you’re from England?” It didn’t quite add up to me – curry was exotic and British fare, not so much. Part of my questioning was also likely because I didn’t like curry when I was growing up. Whenever my Mom took her fancy new fangled crock-pot out from the cupboard, I knew that it potentially wasn’t a good sign (50/50 chance – chilli good, curry bad). Curry was ‘bad’ to me because I had to finish whatever was served on our plate – every last morsel (or raisin in this case)! Curry nights meant a long night of sitting at the dinner table choking it down (sorry Mom). At least I wasn’t alone, curry had the same affect on some of my sisters…if not all. As an afterthought, this perhaps explains my sensitivity to the sound of food being eaten by my family. At times I had to endure listening for extended periods as we all worked towards our goal of a spotless plate. Our dog Pete (my black lab) was happy when curry nights came along, he watched and waited for that famous crock-pot to come out of hiding (he was smart in that way). He knew that he’d be ‘slipped’ a bite or two or ten of curry from the table!
Well, that was then, this is now. I’d eat curry in a flash, especially my Mom’s curry with raisins and apples. Today I LOVE it and I’d eat it anytime day or night. And now that I’ve travelled to India, learnt how to make authentic curry and I know more of the history with England, I completely understand ‘why curry’? It all makes perfect sense now! If only I knew then what I know now.
I recall the day well that my Mom introduced Italian cuisine to our young palettes (my memory can be very good when it comes to food). She was steppin’ out in the kitchen. What was that? We had never had anything quite as exotic as pasta and tomato sauce? Hmmm? An interesting combination of flavours and textures, but I didn’t like it at all. Tomato sauce…yuck! Who would take a perfectly good tomato and make it into a sauce? The Italians, what were they thinking? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Consequently spaghetti wasn’t the easiest of dishes for me to eat either. I remember taking tiny bites and washing it down with milk. Bread was my best friend during these meals. Remember the ‘clean plate’ policy – spaghetti dinners also meant long nights.
And yet today, I LOVE Italian cuisine and I completely get why the Italians would crush tomatoes! Although I still can’t bring myself to drink it – tomato juice/tomato soup – yuck – can’t do it. That’s about the only food that I can’t drink – I’ll eat or drink anything else but that!
Thank you Mom
I’ll wrap this up now – thank you for cooking for us for all of those years! I know we weren’t exactly the easiest to please. I so appreciate it, I learnt a lot from you and I do love your cooking and your recipes! And I learned to love curry and spaghetti thanks to you! Love you Mom. XOXOXO
Wish you were here.
PS Love your food, what comes from the heart touches the heart!