Advance Australia Fare

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.

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