Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Gourmet treats from the 1970s - is this an oxymoron?

I was intrigued when watching tonight's Cook and the Chef on ABC 1 TV to learn that next week Maggie and Simon will recreate recipes from the 1970s.

You've got to be joking! Although I have occasional fond memories of the decade in which I grew up, the food wasn't what you'd call memorable. Back then a good night out was usually spent at the Willoughby Legions Club, either cruising the smorgasbord or ordering the fisherman's basket and a glass of riesling from the a la carte menu!

At home in the 'burbs the standard fare was meat (usually lamb loin chops) and three veg (carrots, potato, peas). The '70s was when frozen foods really came into their own and Birds Eye Fish Fingers fried in butter were a breakfast favourite in our house.

We had butter on everything. I can even remember my dad wacking dobs of it in the porridge.

A Sargeants Pie with a squirt of tomato sauce and a pineapple doughnut were the brown-paper-bag school lunch order every Friday.

Fanta was the drink of choice and Cornettos and Gaytimes were special treats.

I can only imagine the river of cholestoral that seeped into and settled in my arteries. But what the heck! Back then nobody took much notice of the good, bad and ugly fats.

The menu at our house got real sophisticated when it was Mum and Dad's turn to host the monthly card nights with friends Merle and Vic and George and Marie.

Mum specialised in (and still does) a rich and creamy egg mornay topped with a centimetre of grated cheddar cheese. She also whipped up an extra mild Indian prawn curry, easily distinguished by its creamy texture and liberal lashings of Keens curry paste. I think she used a similar bechamel sauce for both recipes, but I wouldn't dare ask her to give away trade secrets.

Dessert was an alcohol-laden rum cream pie or lemon cheese pavlova. Of course, everyone guzzled down the pie and rolled home in their seatbeltless Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores, pissed to the eyeballs.

Those were the days.

I can't see Maggie and Simon's take on the '70s getting any better or nostalgic than this.

1 comment:

jennjmcleod said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, but you forgot about the tripe and the lambs fry with bacon. My cholestrol just went up reading this. I sure hope your mum's mornay had that golden yellow ring of melted butter and cheese. Hmmmm. I'm off to cook up prawn curry (and yes it is the same roux (as in bechamel).