Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Veil of ignorance

Growing up in 1970s Scotland, I was a rather greedy, forever-hungry child. Hungry as I was, often the food adults liked, and took pleasure in eating, baffled me; my parents would describe something spicy, or bitter, or strong as “an acquired taste”, which seemed to be synonymous with “vile”; olives, whisky, cumin, beetroot, coriander or aubergines. On the contrary, I loved bland food, and dreamed of being given a jar of peanut butter for my birthday. As well as being highly suspect, adult food seemed impossibly exotic to me; on the (fairly infrequent) occasions when someone was coming for dinner, and children were to be sent to bed early, I took a very keen interest in what was being prepared.

My mum seemed to have two key dishes which were her dinner party staples: moussaka, and Danish Peasant Girl with Veil. The latter was based on a recipe of my grandmother’s, and was essentially a dish of stewed apple and bread topped with cream and grated chocolate (recipe here). I remember peeking into the fridge as the Danish Peasant Girl sat there in splendour, cooling for the evening; I can’t guarantee that I didn’t sometimes stick a greedy finger in it to steal some for myself, justifying it with righteous indignation at being excluded from the festivities.


Kate said...

I love food memories. My dad would keep a jar of rollmop herrings in the fridge when I was little. They seemed very grown up and somehow exotic. not nearly so delicious as your Peasant Girl with Veil thing. I recently found a great foodie blog: eggs on the roof--have you come across it? Think you might like it. x

Mancsoulsister said...

I love food memories too - funny how they stir up such a lot of emotion.

Smoked Mackerel Pate is the taste of my mum and dad's dinner parties. I used to get sent to bed, hoping that there would be leftovers in the morning. There usually was. I found out years later than my mum always made extra so we could have some in the morning.

I can't wait to try the peasant girl with veil, it sounds divine.

LottieP said...

Haven't seen that one, Kate - I'll take a look. I don't think I'd have been stealing bits of rollmops. Unless there was chocolate involved.

I think I have some memories associated with smoked mackerel paté too, MSS - it must have been one of those vogue dishes for 1970s dinner parties (and perhaps less expensive to make at home than prawn cocktail).

Stand by for more disgraceful admissions of utter greed...