About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005
Christmas Party
Feeling rather inspired today after reading "MY FATHERS NEW YEARS DAY BARBECUE".
How to Roast a pig the cuban way It reminded me of the Christmas barbecues that my mum used to put on for clients and friends every year. Not that we did something as exotic as to dig a pit for roasting a pig, ours involved copious quantities of lamb forequarter chops, steaks the butcher tenderised and lots of sausages. Plus beer ~ by the keg for the men, Stones Green Ginger Wine and Pimms for the ladies. Mum only ever invited ladies, never women.

My dad died when I was three and mum took over his electroplating business. It was pretty unusual for a lady to work in this type of industry; a result of which mum became well known, so lots of people would turn up to her Christmas party. There were four of us kids and we all got involved in the preparations. As I got older my job was to mow the lawn, tidy the garden, blow up balloons and help string up party lights.

Tidying the garden was a fraught occupation. Dad was a bit of a gardener and planted a few different things. After he died, these plants became untouchable, the only problem was that I didn't always know which ones they were. One time I cut down a branch of a huge flowering gum (eucalyptus ficifolia) that was about to extend over our roof, over one tonne of wood came crashing down, no problem, but when I trimmed a cumquat tree that had overgrown the entrance to our house and you had to push past to get in, especially bad in the wet, mum didn't talk to me for almost a month.

There was a police station across the road from mum's factory and she was friendly with all of them, they used to keep a special eye out for her, so they were always invited. One of them would turn up early to set up the barbecue. In those days barbecues were easy, a forty-four gallon steel drum was cut in half, four legs welded to the base, some wire grate was pilfered from somewhere and voila ~ a barbecue.

When the keg arrived, the delivery man would patiently explain the mysteries of its workings to the appointed barman, usually a friend of mums. None of her friends could ever have become publicans as no one that I can remember ever got the keg to work properly, not that anyone really minded, especially me as there was always a shandy (half beer, half lemonade) to be had, so long as mum wasn't looking.

The guests would arrive, the barbecue lit and when the charcoal glowed, the cooking began. Half a forty-four gallon drum holds a lot of charcoal and the sides of the barbecue were almost glowing. Cooking a steak was no problem, but forequarter lamb chops with their ribbons of fat and sausages were a special challenge, flare ups meant the food had to be constantly rearranged, lets just say nothing came off the barbecue that wasn't well done.

Nobody really cared about the burnt food or the beers with too much head. Mum would gaze over her party with quiet satisfaction, holding her gin and tonic. It was almost Christmas and her friends were all here.
 
  posted at 9:19 am
  2 comments



2 Comments:
At 11:52 am, Blogger Melissa CookingDiva said...

I loved your story. Thanks for sharing it with Us. Happy Holidays and many hugs to you and your family! :)

 
At 7:28 pm, Blogger Elena Hernandez said...

I'm glad you liked the story and got you to share your own with us. Happy Holidays from Panama!

 

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