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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I have always loved cooking...

I'm so old that when I was at school we did 'Domestic Science', just in Grade 8. Later the subject was revamped and renamed, Home Economics. Only girls did Domestic Science, just like it was only Grade 9 girls who did the 'Mothercraft' course. They were the times (1950s1960s) I suppose; girls were expected to only work until marriage and then spend the rest of their lives being 'domestic goddesses' or some such thing! lol
I remember in that Grade 8 year I made some shapeless articles of clothing (which were not fashionable) and cooked a variety of dishes that lacked interesting flavours. At home I ate Italian style food as my dad was from Sicily and wasn't too keen on the typical Aussie diet of those times, meat and 3 overcooked vegetables. One of the dishes I cooked at school and brought home for dinner that night was called Shepherd's Pie. Traditionally this dish was made with leftover roast lamb minced up but we used beef mince. (ground beef) It had grated carrot and onion, salt and pepper, was thickened with cornflour and water and then topped with mashed potato. My darling dad ate his way through it proclaiming it was 'wonderful darling!'

My dad died when I was 15 so he didn't ever get to try the recipe which eventually evolved for Shepherd's pie cooked 'my way'! Now my pie has beef mince flavoured with onion, carrot, mixed herbs, worcestershire sauce, ground pepper, finely diced bacon. The mashed potatoes have 1/2 cup of grated tasty cheeses mixed through and another 1/2 cup sprinkled on top! Sometimes my kids take containers of the frozen meat mixture home to turn into a Shepherd's pie at home! The 2 of my step-daughters who lived with us also didn't mind it either, although I know they loved the Moussaka I make! if you think about it, Moussaka has similarities to Shepherd's pie but it's heaps more tastier than that original pie I made at school!

My dad wouldn't recognise Australia now. The acceptance of nonBritish style foods is amazing and the variety of ethnic ingredients available as well as the huge numbers of eateries selling so many styles of food/cooking. I used to be ashamed of the food we ate at home when I was growing up...silly really!
So why have I been raving on about cooking? Many of the blogs I follow discuss home cooking and cooking from scratch. Even though I hated the cooking lessons at school (the teacher was a sour-faced bully) once I learned the basics I cooked all the time as a teenager and of course as a wife and mother. DH is so appreciative of everything I cook and the best thing is, that he insists on doing the cleaning up and stacking the dishwasher and washing up the big items. Now how good is that? Didn't happen in my first marriage.


Claud said...

Hi Maria, I'm sure your daddy would love your version of the shepherd's pie better :-. It sounds really yummy although is it not something we eat in the US or in my home country. But I might give it a shot one day.

Calidore said...

Ahh the days of Home Economics. I actually loved them - maybe I was a domestic godess in the making....roflmol. It's such a pity that these days they don't seem to teach the kids those domestic arts that we learnt. Yes they cook but it's not good old fashioned cooking and budgeting and lessons on how to stretch a kilo of mince six different way like we had.