Singing Swedish Snapsvisor (drinking songs) before Christmas lunch while sipping glögg (hot mulled wine), dunking bread in a sizzling pot of melting cheese in Switzerland and chatting to an Italian café owner about how he makes his buffalo mozzarella are some of my favourite travel memories.
Aussies I’m sorry, but we kinda suck in comparison. Cooking a snag on the barbie within an inch of its life isn’t quite the same as dancing around a maypole in the summertime and eating freshly picked blueberries – something that’s been done for hundreds and hundreds of years.
But what we lack in age-old traditions, I think we make up for in awesome family customs. We all have them! Like watching Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation every Christmas eve with cups of tea (yeahh we’re cool), making sausage rolls on AFL grand-final day and sampling my Dad’s annual home-brew. Perhaps we’re not as refined as our European cousins, but these are things that feel like home.
Birthdays in our house were marked in one very special way each year – with the presentation of my Grandma’s famous chocolate cake. Every single thing about that cake reminds me of her – the smell, the square plastic Tupperware container it always arrived in (sometimes left warm on the kitchen bench after school – much to our delight), the shredded coconut topping and my Grandma’s always humble words ‘it’s not my best one, but it’ll do!’
Grandma Joycie is now 95 years old and pretty damn incredible. A diehard Geelong Cats fan, she says the key to a long life is warm lemon water in the morning, eating good food and making sure you look after your eyes. At 95 it’s hard to argue with that logic!
Her recipe isn’t gluten free, dairy free or sugar free. But what it lacks in the world of health blogs it makes up for in many years of tradition and so many happy memories – and sometimes that’s what food is all about, right?
This is my Grandma’s original recipe. The point of this post wasn’t so much to have you try it (you won’t regret it), but more so to get you thinking about your own family traditions, not matter how weird. Write down your Dad’s recipe for lasagne or ask your Nanna how she makes her scones next time you visit.
I can guarantee they’ll be thrilled to bits.
- 3 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup self raising flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons of butter
- 1½ cups of icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut