This Apron Strings contest submission comes from Jennifer Beer who reminisces about her Dad’s taste for Australian fare that has forged a place in her heart for blood pudding and kippers. Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.
My dad tended to be the distant sort. When we were growing up, there tended to be a lot of “hush, your father is sleeping” or “hush, your father is reading the paper.” But somehow that made the time we did spend with Dad more precious.
Usually it came in the form of Sunday mornings, when we’d make breakfast in bed for Mum. We had an intercom because their room was fairly distant from the kids’ rooms, and we’d put a pillow over it so we wouldn’t disturb her (it was only years later than she let us know she could still hear every word we said).
Because Dad was Australian, our breakfasts were sometimes a little “different” from what my friends would have… for example, I don’t know many other people with a lifelong love of blood pudding, kippers (both of which I’ve bought at Fiesta Farms), and fried tomatoes for breakfast. But because these were the foods I shared with Dad, they have a special place in my heart and stomach – I have so far failed to pass these loves on to my son, he strangely prefers pancakes and maple syrup.
He did have some more kid-friendly breakfast specialties as well: pikelets (a sort of pancake – or griddlecake, as he would say – but smaller and thicker and puffier), crepes sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice, apple fritters (apple rings dipped in cinnamon sugar, then pancake batter), porridge, and scones.
Usually it was crepes or scones for Mum’s Sunday breakfast in bed; I seem to be the only one in the family who developed a fondness for blood pudding and kippers.
So many memories of him involve his particular tastes: french bread with apricot jam and old cheddar, sardines on toast, beerwurst, buttering the bread before you slice it, marmite, and tea by the gallon.
Seeing as there was not much available in small-town Ontario in the 1970s, he would often bring strange treats home from the city: crusty chewy kaiser rolls from a Swiss bakery, star fruit, passion fruit, all kinds of things we couldn’t get close to home. He used to experiment in the kitchen (I remember the first time we made pesto alla genovese — all that raw garlic was a bit of a shock to the tastebuds), with sometimes mixed results. Like the time he put all of our dry goods into unmarked cannisters, and then made an apple cake, accidentally substituting icing sugar for flour. Or those hamburgers with the chunks of raw onion and bits of not-well-beaten egg (and sometimes even shell).
It’s four years now since he died, and I commemorate his birthday and Australia day every year with a big breakfast fry-up in his honour. I might pick up some blood pudding tonight. I will leave the marmite for someone else to enjoy, though.