Can I Can’t I – Will I Won’t I

Now that A Pam is settled into the nursing home my cousin (her son) has put her place on the market so the clearing (decluttering) has begun. So as houses sell more easily if they are still funished it will remain that way till after settlement – whenever that may be.

He lives in Perth and apart from signing papers won’t do much else where the sale is concerned so it looks like most of the ‘work’ will be done by my other cousin (her sister’s daughter ) and me (her late husbands sister’s daughter) – ‘cose we live here in Melbourne and can deal with things directly -his words not mine!

I started to go through drawers and discovered her written recipe book, a very battered exercise book with handwritten recipes from friends here in Australia. For all her upbringing (and I mean that in a nice way ) she wasn’t a really fancy (or good) cook – she went to boarding school in India so had never been at home to see and learn how and I know Uncle John would sometimes take her out to dinner rather than have her get upset at trying to cook things that didn’t turn out well. I’m not making that up – he told me that on more than one occassion. lol

Anyway the only time I’d seen her use this book over the years was at Christmas time when she’d make ‘The Pudding’. It was the only tradition I remember about life in her house from the early 70’s when we arrived here in Australia. She would let everyone know when she was going to be cooking and asked if you wanted to come over and stir the pudding.

There are 3 Christmas pudding recipes in the book and I can see the faces of the people they came from quite clearly.

The first from Jean is short and very direct – just like Jean,

The second from her sister Betty has lots of ingredients and simple concise instructions

The third from Joan a fabulous tennis friend has not so many ingredients
but fabulous instructions.
you will have to click on the pictures to enlarge them

Whereas the first two suggest a wine glass of brandy she just puts Rum Milk or Beer leaving the amount up to you. Cooking time for her is ‘steam all day for as many days as possible. Joan loved a drink and had all the time in the world to do things:))
Can you see which one was used the most?
A Pam would start to gather her ingredients about November, buy new calico each year for the pudding bowls and then on the day tick as she added each thing to the mixing bowl.
Some years she’d tick as she wrote down her list to take the the shop to buy the ingredients and then get into a real muddle when she forgot which ticks were ‘buying’ ticks and which were ‘added’ ticks.
I had to make a mad dash to the house one year to try and find out what had been added to the mixing bowl and what hadn’t ‘cose she hadn’t just weighed out and put in little bowls and then put the packets back in the cupboard but was adding after weighing, had packets all over the place and she couldn’t tell the difference between raisins and sultanas.
It was then we began to realise how muddled and confused she was getting, how things were becoming a problem and consequently that was the last time she made the puddings.
So now I have the book and the recipes (which she doesn’t know); but we were talking about cooking the other day and just in passing she said it would be nice if I made her that lovely pudding Betty makes. Betty’s been gone for about 10years now so I’ve no idea what made her say that.
None of my family really like Christmas Pudding but I gave her my word I’d give it a go and she says she’s going to live long enough to taste it lol

3 thoughts on “Can I Can’t I – Will I Won’t I

  1. Great to have the recipes! Treasures for sure, especially since you have the stories to go with them.


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