Baking was my Saturday morning chore

As I’ve said before, Mum hated cooking so never taught me to cook. Fortunately for me though, in grades 7 & 8, we went to Rural School. These grades were still part of our primary education, but we went across to the high school section for Rural School. (I seem to remember, Caboolture State School had a secondary department attached to it in those days. The separate high school was, I think, opened when I was in Grade 8 and I went there at the start of Grade 9.)

At Rural School boys learnt woodwork etc & we learnt cooking & sewing. I still have my recipe books from those years, almost 60 years ago. We had to copy the recipes off the blackboard into our day pads & then write them up for homework in our recipe books in our best handwriting in pen & ink (no biros allowed!) & decorate them with whatever pictures we could find in magazines etc that resembled what we cooked. We had no smart phones then, of course, & although I had a little camera, you had to use up a whole film before you could get it developed & that was an expensive process that took a couple of weeks.

Our first baking effort was ‘Fairy Cakes’ and, of course, we had to cream the butter & sugar by hand – no electric beaters available then. We made sausage rolls, peanut toffee, shepherd’s pie, lemon delicious pudding, Anzac biscuits, apple crumble and more. We’d take the ingredients from home & then take the food home, safely we hoped. This was no mean feat on the old truck which was our school bus & then on the ride from the bus stop on my bike over corrugated dirt roads. Mum loved it when we cooked something that was a main meal as she didn’t need to cook dinner. We still had to light the fire though to heat up the food as we didn’t have an electric stove &, of course, there were no microwaves in those days.

Once I discovered that I enjoyed cooking, doing the family baking became my Saturday morning activity & I had great fun making jam drops, banana cake, cornflake biscuits, date rolls, melting moments (my absolute favourites) & whatever else took my fancy at the time. I still love to bake as do my daughters & grandchildren but I don’t do it very often these days, just for special occasions or when we have visitors. Let’s face it. If we bake it, we eat it & it’s better if we don’t. Sadly!

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