Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Michelin Starred it never was

I feel I actually deserve to be recognized for my ingenuity and skill when feeding the under fives. They can be so contrary. Yesterday they ate pasta with pesto , but today they won't. I am not going to rant about the modern Scarborough child v the Hull fifties child.
We did not have the choice of food . Our mothers , unless they came from a different culture from ours served 'plain food'.
This was usually a roast dinner on a Sunday, sliced joint with gravy re-heated on a Monday, and Minced on Tuesday. By Wednesday it might be some braised meat, usually leg of beef and beasts kidney which had stewed slowly for hours. On Thursday a Cauliflower Cheese, would always be followed on Friday by fish. The butcher from Sutton Village (Mr Hickey) called twice a week with his van. The fishmonger from the village (Mr Hilyard) called on Fridays. Joints were usually big. All mince and all roasts , pork or lamb beef were served with Yorkshire pudding cooked as I do now in one large tin. Chicken was for special occasions, and came from Mr Baston who kept a free range flock in the field behind our house. When we wanted eggs , my mother would hang a basket on our shed next to the fence, and the eggs would be there by the evening.
My school friend who lived in Eastmount Avenue had a mother who could make a raised Pork pie. One always hoped to be invited for a meal, and frequently was. The food in this house was different, but it was still plain and of traditional English cuisine. Up the road in Saltshouse Road we had a neighbour who returned from trips on his Trawler and brought us gifts of huge parcels of Halibut and Skate, Haddock and Cod . He later started a frozen Fish Business called Herons, which is still going today , though he and his family emigrated to Canada many years ago. Fish was grilled or poached and served with a white sauce, or fried in a shallow pan of lard.We had no fridge until 1960, so meat was never stored. Most vegetables were home grown. Mr Wiles came up from the village to help with the garden. His dog Judy used to run along side his bike. He had fought in the Boer War. I used to watch him sowing vegetable seeds from a little dispenser . No carrots-they never did well in the clay Riseholm soil. Rows of potatoes. sprouts and beetroot fed us.
"Just go and pick some Kale for lunch will you Margaret?" Remember sisters that awful Kale! We didn't have anything but tinned peas, except in season from the garden, until Erin brought out a dried sort that you added boiling water to !
We always has gravy made from meat juices from the pan, or Bisto with Mr Hickey's sausages.
Our food never varied as it does today until the advent of the supermarket, which promptly killed the trade of our village shop 'Myers'. My mother just loved a trip to Frank Dees supermarket on the Holderness Road in Hull in the 1960's. We began to have different types of cheese and sausages, biscuits and bread, and cakes (Bought Rubbish they were affectionately called by my father).
Here in our small town just south of Scarborough we are still able to buy from small local shops and I do . I never buy vegetables or meat from the Supermarket (which was part of the Frank Dee Chain in the 1970s). I never buy fish from Herons. but from the fishmonger . I am doing my best to cut down airmiles. The spinach in our small garden is feeding us well. With all the option excess we enjoy however I still cannot please the palettes of the under fives. They have never before in history had so much delicious food to choose from. They do garlic, cous -cous, mangoes, chorizo, cumin coriander and quinoa, tropical this and that and malt loaf.
I cooked too many vegetables yesterday to accompany the meatballs and pasta shells. Today they were pureed into chopped tomatoes with 5 cloves of garlic and made in to a sauce for the spinach and rice pie. Right now on the beach are 2 small boys reeking of garlic, and even then one didn't like the pie, just the broccoli and sauce.
What has changed? Were we fussy ? Were our parents stricter? Or have we just forgotten that we put food we didn't like surreptitiously under the table for our spaniel.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Felix Mendelssohn -his part in our life

I have just listened to the Service on Radio 4 as I do every Sunday Morning before going to do girly music in St Oswalds.
I am a big fan of the blog of Bishop Baines who coined the words and set the hare running again (I saw a huge hare on the Wolds on Thursday, not 10 m from where I stood) . Simon Rudiger in the Filey Parish blog has done his usual 'get you think' provocative blog (sans capital letters), this time commenting about that article in the magazine 'Sorted' (Loaded Correctly) which suggests that men are staying away from church because the music is not macho enough.This may run and run , I dont care. My very own macho man loves flowers, a former LSO chorus member has a really eclectic taste in music, church or otherwise. Not like his narrow minded spouse.
I am listening to Elijah on BBC iplayer as I write, recorded last Friday.
"If with all your heart you surely seek me ,ye shall ever surely find me" is playing now.
When I am down, I always listen to this Oratorio, it hits all my highs and lows. The composer has managed to bring the Bible text alive for me. I am so glad that such a great Man of God as Elijah was depressed and anxious, successful at times and then totally lost enough to run away emotionally. Mendelssohn touches my soul with his understanding of the text in music, romantic and utterly serious.
Praise for this short lived genius has been mutated in to the genes of Bridteacher. Historically I come from a musical family. My great great uncle was an original Savoyard Charles Kenningham,, his brother Alfred a vicar choral at St Pauls, my own great ,great Grandfather Edmund Kenningham died after singing 'The heavens are telling" . Spouse always calls this 'The tenors are yelling."
My own Classical musical Education began with a trip to the City Hall Hull with my school Greatfield High School (Newton Hall) in about 1961 to hear my first orchestra .We were accompanied by the music teacher Miss Nottingham. This was the real thing and I knew it was. In the evening, this small group of us , in special cheap seats for the schools of Hull sat and took it all in, not even sure whether we liked it , but knowing it was grown up , and trying to find something in it to like. I was asked after which music I had liked best,out of the Short Overture, the long Symphony and the other shortish piece. I had no hesitation" 'Fingals Cave' "I said. It had entranced me . I have recalled this lollipop moment many times, and when my Father went to Sidney Scarborough's and bought me an EP of Mendelssohn Overtures, Fingals Cave on one side and Ruy Blas I played them so often I had to have more ,so joined the Music Library as soon I was old enough. I came home with Chopin one week, Liszt the next , worked my way through all the Classics, always dreading that moment back in the Library when the librarian checked all the LPs for scratches. Mendelssohn started me on my lifelove of music. I am open to anything from Sparklehorse to Anthony and the Johnsons, from Bach to more Bach via Mozart and Wagner. Oddly enough I don't like G and S despite my illustrious forbears. I have just found my Great-Grandmother Kenningham's copy of Mendelssohn's 'Song without words'. She was a gifted pianist and well known in musical circles in Hull in the 1880s and 90s. Her daughter , my grandmother Gertrude Alice Bruce was once visited by a famous musicologist of the day Dr Orlando Mansfield. The family anecdote goes that my grandfather was so shy that he didn't speak a word during the whole social call, and my grandmother never let him forget how he had embarrassed her.The fly leaf of the Folio Book is inscribed thus;
Listening to the service on Radio 4,this morning I am sure I heard the commentator say that Mendelssohn had been almost worshipped in his day. This obviously carried on for many years after too, for the Folio Book to have been used like a family Bible for the recording of ownership. So I am enjoying this Mendelssohn weekend on the BBC. Thank you very much. I am listening to 'Thanks be to God now'. I think it could be Macho Music, Elijah seemed a Macho Man,with the sensitive side that 'Girly's ' share. Does it really matter? Nick Baines doesn't think so and that's good enough for me!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Echium again

Am delighted to announce that spouse has allowed me to have yet more of the south facing border to accommodate my growing family of the Genus Echium.
I am so pleased with the buds on the sp. lusitanicum spp polycaulon . It is at the front of the border , (see picture)where I nurtured it all winter, and really should be further back, but will give it a year. The 2 E.russicums are at the back , but higher up the slope, hope they will flower too, they are in bud. I have kept 1 E. russicum in its pot, just incase I have to move it. The orange peel is to deter cats from using the facilities in this garden. It seems to be working. Even Kiaoracat is being more considerate at the moment.
Have 10 E. Fastuosums dotted around the garden, but they are poor specimans and have no buds . This is so exciting. I sound like a real anorak. Don't care .