Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dad's not strictly a picky eater...unless it's his two pet loathings

Dad's appetite has gone south, as has his weight, and his tastebuds have left for sunnier climes.
I have little rammekins and bowls of this and that filling the fridge with all manner of things to stimulate his appetite.
There's creamed rice with home-made rhubarb and apple, yoghurt with Farex rice cereal and apricot halves, frozen berries we scatter on top of English Toffee ice cream, not forgetting the Wildberry ice cream we slather in chocolate topping and the Ice Magic choc top stuff.
The Death by Chocolate chocolate mousse got the "Ewww, yuck" review, while pancakes coated in Golden syrup and Nutella get the big thumbs up.
Blueberry yoghurt "Would kill a blue dog but I'll put up with it" is Dad's way of saying "Not too bad, I'll have some more".
Dad has an aversion to only a few foods for very good reasons (that don't involve allergies/intolerances) - plum jam and pineapple.
Back in the Great Depression his father applied for the Susso (forerunner of unemployment benefits) but as he had a trade as a boot maker (albeit one that was not getting a brass razoo as no one could afford to buy shoes) and was crippled, meaning he was unable to do labouring, he was knocked back.
So, Dad's mum had to go to work, at the Rosella Preserve Factory in Richmond.
The ladies were sometimes allowed to bring home tins of preserves that weren't going to sell, were either too old or too dented.
Great, you might think.
Except the only jam his mum was ever able to bring home was plum jam.
Plum jam for breakfast, lunch and tea, when they were lucky enough to get more than a crust of bread.
The Black Market was doing a roaring trade in the back streets of Montague/South Melbourne and while Dad's father was able to get hold of full salt and pepper shakers now and then (something as rare as hen's teeth) the only jam 'falling off the back of a truck' seemed to be plum jam.
The pineapple revulsion happened while Dad was up in The Islands in WW2; his RAAF unit had been piled on board an old steamer ship to chug to another island after fighting on another one (of many).
Chugging, taking a long time, took more than a week instead of the 'couple of days' they'd been told.
After a few hours the boys were wondering wtf was happening as regards rations or anything resembling food - then they realised there wasn't any.
They found out later The Powers That Be did not expect them to make it to the next island, that the steamer was deliberately chosen as it was slow and would attract the attention of the enemy and divert attention away from the US troops MacArthur wanted to send through, hence not bothering with food rations. 
Someone forgot to send the memo to the Japanese as they either didn't see or didn't care for the old steamer filled to the gunwales with young Aussie troops starving enough to eat the arse out of a low-flying duck.
So, they did what any self-respecting starving Aussie would do ....they broke into the hold.
And found tin after tin after tin.
Of pineapple.
They breakfasted on pineapple, they lunched on pineapple and, yes, they dined on pineapple.
They drank pineapple juice, for wont of fresh water, and they all grew heartily sick of pineapple.
Dad said there had been a couple of tins of fruit salad but they were devoured early on, with many not even getting a sniff of a apricot or peach.
Mum said Dad would fastidiously fish out each and every piece of pineapple he spied in any dish, (he's done the same even a few months ago with pizza) while plum jam has never darkened our doorstep.


  1. Amazing what effect experiences when young and impressionable can have on the tastebuds! To this day I won't let a brussels sprout darken my doorstep - although come to think of it, maybe that's just common sense??!!

    Happy travels!

  2. Plum jam, there's a memory.
    I smell a blog post....

    Sad about your dad getting a bit worse there Jayne. Hopefully something will soon tempt his appetite back.

  3. I bloody love coming to read your blog.. you know that! You have a whole book to write woman! And I will buy it first! Even better than a Bryce Courtenay story... and true that!

  4. LOL Red!
    Hubby shares your sentiments with those sprouts lol.

    Chronic renal failure kills the appetite towards the middle/end stages, River.

    Thanks, Cazzie!
    You're an awesome chickybabe, too :)

  5. Your Dad's WW2 memories have inspired me to read a book of interviews with Aussie soldiers. One WW2 POW found an ingenious way to access mangos. He knew that he wasn't allowed to pick fruit from the mango tree near where he was interned, but he had noticed monkeys in the tree. When he had the chance, he picked up a stone, and tossed it close to one of the monkeys. Quite rightly, the monkey thought that was very rude indeed, and started tossing mangos back at him. Gorgeous.

  6. Hi Jayne,
    Thanks for linking to my blog in your interesting article. I just thought I'd let you know that your link has connected to the wrong URL post on my blog. If you wanted to reference the Rosella Building in Richmond, here is the correct URL to link to: http://designisborn.com/?p=961

    Many thanks and I will now read you regularly!
    Kind regards,
    Pia from Design is Born