Right folks, roll up, roll up. It's time for the retro round-up! For this month's edition of Waiter, There's Something in My…, the monthly food blogging event run by Johanna, Andrew and me, I decreed the theme to be retro classics and asked you all to dig around at the bottom of your recipe files to bring out the classics of yesteryear. Here's what you came up with:
The very first entry came winging its way into my inbox from Melbourne, Australia, where Johanna of the Gourmet Green Giraffe casts her mind and tastebuds back and comes up with the charmingly-named parkin. But beware – this molasses-flavoured treat is meant to mature for a week before eating, so those in need of a quick cake-fix will be cliimbing the walls.
Staying with the sweet stuff but jetting across to Lynda of Tastefood in the San Francisco Bay area, we find her busy concocting little butterscotch puddings. Man, this brings back memories of the "revolutionary" little individual puddings that appeared on South African supermarket shelves in the 1980s – Flanby! They definitely did creme caramel but I'm almost sure that they or their competitors also did chocolate and butterscotch – my favourite. Good times. In fact, I can almost hear Duran Duran on the stereo!
Off to Cape Town now where my friend Kit of Food & Family proves once again that great minds think alike. I had gone so far as to buy the shrimps and the avocados when Kit's e-mail arrived in my inbox. Damn!! This event was not big enough for two avocado and prawn cocktails, also known as avocado Ritz. Both Kit and I remember thinking that this was the world's most sophisticated starter when we were growing up! OK, our views have changed somewhat, but there is no denying that it's still delicious
Back in London, Gourmet Chick (like me!) is feeling the stress of these uncertain economic times. What's a girl to do, other than to revert back to simpler times, before low-carb diets and cholesterol-consciousness. Yes, folks, I speak of the Golden Age of macaroni cheese. Comfort in a bowl – made even yummier by GC's addition of bacon bits and mustard. I feel better already!
A quick trans-Atlantic flight gets us to the kitchen of Paula of Ambrosia Quest in Silicon Valley, California. Want a traditional Bavarian dessert, but too scared to temper the eggs? Try Paula's raspberry cream with lemon creme fraiche which uses gelatine instead of eggs – but still turns out to taste lush and sliky. Now that's my kind of recipe!
Back in South Africa, we catch up with Betty of BettyNoire in Johannesburg. Although her blog is not exclusively about food, she saw this month's theme and could not resist digging out her classic South African cookbook Kook en Geniet (Cook and Enjoy), billed in its time as " a guide for every young lady, bride and housewife". She produces a truly astonishing beetroot ring with peas and mayo. Truly retro-tastic!
Another South African blogger who doesn't focus on food exclusively but decided to join in the fun this month is Spear of Hardspear. He takes us on a magical mystery tour of food of the 1970s – chicken liver pate, Chateaubriand, devilled eggs, angels on horseback… culminating in his dish of raspberry charlotte. Excuse me, I have to go and put some Abba on the stereo now!
Back across the Atlantic in Atlanta, the lovely Chris of Melecotte brings back some childhood memories for me. As a child growiing up in South African in the 1970s and 1980s, Twinkies were like moon rocks – simply unobtainable. And yet we knew all about them from those umimpeachable information sources – Archie and Richie Rich comic books Now that they are freely available, my adult palate is not nearly as smitten as my teenage one would have been… but I'm sure Melecotte's homemade Twinkies would be a whole different ballgame
Further north, my dear "Chicago sister" Courtney of Coco Cooks proves once again that great minds think alike. Clearly we were both channeling the meringue goddess for this event, as you'll notice when you see my entry! Courtney gets her hands on the Military Wives cookbook which spans two centuries of cooking. Now that's a whole lot of retro! Courtney opts for an old-fashioned banana pudding which is comfort food extraordinaire – and just look at that perfect meringue topping!
Right here in London, my friend and co-founder of this event Johanna from The passionate Cook gave us a break from the sweet stuff and went for something meatier. Like me, she was on the brink of making prawn cocktail when something in the retro classic Cordon Bleu Cookbook caught her eye: a classic beef Wellington. You can see why this used to be the ultimate dish to impress at dinner parties!
Unsurprisingly, my other friend and co-founder Andrew of SpittoonExtra went for something sweet. He cleverly combines his regular dessert of the week with WTSIM and makes a dessert that I'm sure every single one of us remembers from childhood: trifle. If your childhood was like mine, this will bring to mind claggy custard and jelly cubes in terrifyingly day-glo colours. But Andrew presents us with a delicious sounding lemon blueberry trifle. Yum!
And as for me, your hostess with the mostest, I decided to make something that used to fascinate me as a child and that I've only attempted once before. My first cookbook in the 1970s was the My Learn to Cook Book, and in it was this most astonishing: baked Alaska! To a kid, baked ice cream seemed to be an impossibility and I was consequently fascinated. For my contribution, I made individual baked Alaskas with Cointreau and marmalade.
And that, as they say, is that, folks! Thanks to all the creative, retro-tastic participants, and I look forward to seeing you all at next month's event over at Johanna's. A little bird has told me that the theme might have something to do with French bistro cooking…!