Today I am not just joined by one entertaining and witty member of the Lennick family but two. Joy is sharing a delightful post on food and favourite aunts and her husband Eric has added some of his fabled funnies.
Food Glorious Food and Favourite Aunts by Joy Lennick
It seems to be a fact that some people eat to live, while others live to eat, and the evidence is all around us. You are what you eat is usually true! The whole subject of food and eating, however, obviously involves a lot more than viewing it as something that just keeps us alive. It is said that we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths, and this is where presentation comes in. Whose eyes haven’t widened in delight at sight of a chocolate and cherry decorated cake drizzled with cream? Naughty but irresistible as a treat…
It still remains a fact though, that eating a healthy breakfast gives us a kick-start to the day and bodies need vitamins and at least some good food to sustain them. But, of course, there’s far more to food than seeing it as a necessary product.
Looking back over our lives, I bet there are many memories linked to food and certain people and events because of the look, taste or smell of it. Right?
Back to teen-age years, that magnetic sizzle of bacon frying, wafting upstairs when you were still zzzing of a Sunday, could be a swift mover…And I can recall podding peas for our weekend roast, while popping a few in my mouth, raw and sweet, orchestrated by the church-bells, as the aroma of beef, pork or lamb drifted through the house and had small mouths salivating. .
Visits to relatives’ houses was often linked to food. Grandma Rose lived opposite a bakery, where I was often sent to purchase a fresh, seedy ‘bloomer’ to be liberally spread with ‘best’ butter and her home-made blackcurrent or raspberry jam. ‘Encased in church garments,’ (pristine socks, gloves & hat, best dress and coat) on a Sunday, I would dream of her, and her two daughters` delicious trifles, laced with clotted, Cornish cream and decorated with glace cherries and ‘tombstone almonds,’ while the priest droned on.
Practical, pale-faced, no-nonsense Aunt Maud was ‘the special family cook.’ Her celebration cakes were a joy. Iced with a steady hand and expertly decorated – sometimes, surprisingly, by a husband with hands like ham-joints…She made my own, beautiful, three-tiered wedding cake when I married. (I tried forgetting that she was the ‘capable woman’, often called to ‘wash and lay out’ a recently departed deceased…)
My own, dear mother caught them all up and, on retirement, took an advanced cooking course and produced some highly edible and desirable works of art. And her coconut pyramids, apple crumbles, almond slices and rich fruit cake were not to be sniffed at either, nor her petit fours at Christmas-time.
One of my all-time favourite aunts – there were four – was Aunt Florrie: ‘Flo.’ She was a first-class furrier (it took me awhile to get over the sight of sad-eyed foxes, draped limply over chairs in the ‘fur-room’ ) and wore a tap-measure around her neck in lieu of pearls. A smile, echoed in her twinkly brown eyes, was never far from her lips and her front door was rarely fully closed; the kettles on her gas-stove burning out at an alarming rate…
“You MUST stay for tea!” she’d say at sight of you. She treated everyone as if they were special.
Pressing two shillings into my hand, she’d say: “Fetch a Kuchen ring from Gradinski’s and keep the change,” and I’d return to a Bachalasian table laden with delectable eats. There was smoked salmon and pickled herring, alongside sliced salt-beef or ham-on-the bone…One never left Aunt Flo’s house poor or hungry, (she always slipped a sixpenny bit in my pocket.) A warm-hearted East Ender, she swore like a sailor, which I never questioned…and often stayed up all night to sew another fur coat (the proceeds given to yet another open-handed sister…) They really did break the mould when she later died, bless her.
During evacuation in World War 11, in South Wales, Aunt Sal (Sarah) was temporary stand-in while Mum worked in Munitions…and Dad served in The Royal Air Force. She suffered a life-long, badly ulcerated leg, kept the house spotless, worked a treadle sewing machine and cooked in a black-leaded fire stove, until Mum persuaded her to buy a ‘new-.fangled cooker.’ Proud as a peacock, or hen…she produced Welsh cakes & Teishen Lap (fruit cake), delicious, home-cooked fish and chips and, my favourite: apple and blackberries (which eldest brother and I gathered: fat, luscious and mouth-watering from nearby bushes) teasing under a golden roof of pastry. The aroma lingered in every corner of the house. Like Aunt Florrie, Aunt Sal had the patience of the proverbial saint (and put up with a sharp-tongued mother-in-law, who was never-the-less kind to us children). Stoic and loving, Aunt Sal was another mould-breaker.
Another, petite – I admired her tiny feet and she always wore beautiful shoes – aunt, was Edna. one of Mum’s several sisters-in-law, she and I used to have cosy chats over tea and biscuits or I would admire her small, but blooming garden. She didn’t have good health, but as the years grew, she always said “I can’t go yet, dear. I must welcome my Spring garden,” her passion. A gentle soul, always ready for a laugh, she made it to her mid-eighties, so had a fair crack of the whip, as they say.
Is it any wonder that Aunt Maud and Edna appealed and Aunt Florrie and Aunt Sal were my all-time favourite aunts!?
© Joy Lennick
And to crown this feast of foods and words.. a little after dinner humour from Eric Lennick…
“Romeo had no part in his lover’s death. It was something Juliet.” (Only saying..Enic)
“There was a time when trying to keep up with the Jones was almost impossible. I only had a bike…·” (Only saying. EL)
“When you’re down by the sea, and a fish bites your knee, that’s a Moray…” (Only saying. EL) Go on, sing it!
“Was it the guy Ana kissed who started the rebellion?” (Think about it…EL).
“Did you know that the very first highwayman in Hampshire, England introduced himself as Andover?” Honest! EL
“If you’re high and mighty, you have the wrong altitude!” (Only saying EL)
About Joy Lennick
Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…
Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.
Books by Joy Lennick
A recent review for Where Angel & Devils Tread
The charm of this collection of short stories written by Joy lennick and Jean Wilson, is that all of them are driven by interesting and authentic characters in a manner reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s novels. The superstitions, petty prejudices, and pleasures of these very English characters allow for thoroughly engaging stories with plenty of tongue-in-cheek British humour when circumstances and planned actions bring calamity down on their heads. I enjoyed the plots of the various stories but it is the style of the writing that made this a five star read for me.
A few examples of the humour which had me laughing as I visualized the characters are as follows:
“When I managed to get in I could see that Manny had left his mortal coil and wouldn’t be needing any more injections. I have to say the wife beater was very useful and I have developed a philosophy rather like the Ying and Yang that even dead losses have their uses on occasion.” This extract is from Aldgate’s Angel by Jean Wilson which tells the story of a queen’s nurse in 1950s London. In those days the nurses used to make house visits to attend to certain chronic patients. The conditions in which many of these patients lived were eye opening for me and the wry humour pulled at my heartstrings even as I chuckled.
“Mr Lawson, an ex-banker had been caught stealing some cigars from the newsagent along the road. The fool hadn’t remembered that they had security cameras and his antics were well and truly viewed, although a little mistily, and he was arrested without ceremony and taken to the local police station. Angie Roberts had given a hyena-type short laugh. It was typical of bank managers to help themselves to whatever they wanted. She held them responsible for the state the country was in.” This extract is from Death By Design by Jean Wilson in which the residents of a retirement home decide to take the righting of certain wrongs into their own hands.
“Kosher his mother’s home was not. He smiled as she flitted across his consciousness. Having decided while he was still in the womb that he should be a lawyer, she was disappointed when he became a detective, calling him a “Klutz!” adding “You could be killed!”
However, the fact that his younger brother, -“My son, Joseph, the doctor!” – fulfilled a birth wish, left her happy.” from Freeze by Joy Lennick, a murder investigation into the death of a small time crook and drug addict. The investigation grows legs and leads to some interesting findings.
“Adam was fortunate in the fact he had a head for figures and was ambitious. Very! The fact that he worked out and possessed a certain, while to some, oily, charm; had an enviable head of dark head, and expressive eyes the shade of malt whisky, helped his cause – social climbing. But, the years had thinned his hair somewhat and peppered it with several grey strands which persisted in battling against the dyes he tried.” from The Menu/Shopping List by Joy Lennick. When Piers, formerly Adam, Smythe finds a shoping list/menu in a second hand book, he decides the imagined available, attractive, likely well-heeled author of the letter is perfect for someone like him. He is in for his comeuppance.
My thanks to Joy and Eric for their entertaining words and they would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally.