Watching my favourite celeb chef James Martin yesterday on TV, he had a guest chef appearing who prepared a meal I hadn’t had for many years, that of beef in beer, or Beef Carbonade as I know it. My mother used to cook this a lot for us, along with many other recipes using beer, in particular beer soup, a winter favourite using up any leftover flat beer from parties and Christmas.
My thoughts turned back to all the lovely food Mum used to cook when we were children. Friday nights it was always fried sprats. I still love them but daren’t cook them at home but when on holiday abroad, we always head for the nearest fish restaurant to enjoy grilled sardines. Mum also made the best macaroni cheese I’ve ever tasted, and the best spaghetti bolognese and chicken risotto, all three of which I’ve never been able to recreate the taste she managed to achieve. She can’t remember the ingredients and has sadly forgetten how to make them so can’t even pass on her secrets to me.
Food and the smell of cooking always evoke children memories and I sometimes wonder if the term “comfort food” comes more from the meals we remember from childhood than something warming and sustaining during the cold winter months.
It is a truth that recipes come and go, many long forgotten, but who could forget the ubiquitous restaurant meals of the 1960s and 1970s, when it was considered really posh to have prawn cocktail, then T-bone steak and chips followed by Black Forest gateau. And whatever happened to Chicken Maryland, Hungarian Goulash, boiled bacon and pease pudding, or even stuffed onions?
So while you’re salivating over the cake, does anyone even know how to cook these recipes nowadays, I wonder. I’d love to know what were your favourite meals from childhood.