Jo at Amuse Bouche invited me to reveal what food reminds me of home, which I take to mean childhood home. Let's take it from a different angle: the following are some memories of home associated with food, or possibly the reverse. We have touched on this topic in the past, but a little nostalgia never goes astray.
Here are ten memories that come to mind:
• The pipe-loaf bread that was delivered to our door daily, still warm and soft and fragrant, by baker Mr Goodwin driving his Baker Boy (brand) Morris J-type delivery van. During school holidays we could even choose from the huge wicker basket he carried to the front door loaded with poppy-seed buns, long rolls, high-tin loaves with black tops, French sticks and fruit buns.
• The milk bottles delivered by horse and cart at 5 a.m. every weekday - early to avoid milk spoilage on hot summer mornings. In winter if I was awake, I watched through my front bedroom window as the horses emerged out of ghostly mist, their hooves ringing on the cold road. They frightened me.
• The aroma of the pie-warmer in the canteen at primary school. Not strictly home, but the aroma - today rarely encountered outside country football match kiosks - never fails to bring back the feeling of being nine and hungry.
• The herb-and-onion fragrance of a mince stew, starting to cook, smelled when coming in from school. Waiting for dinner was torture. How could a child do homework? You had to get out or you would drive your mother crazy. Here, eat half a loaf of buttered bread and come back in an hour. Yes, we had an appetite.
• Rice pudding baking in the oven. Cinnamon, nutmeg, egg. A brown top that still quivered. A rectangular 1950s Pyrex dish, yellow with line-drawn black flowers.
• Fish and chips in newspaper brought home by my father from the fish shop. The heat of the fish and chips made the newsprint smell like it was hot off the press. Splash on some vinegar. Delicious.
• Picnic sandwiches at Gisborne, on the hill near the pine forest. We were too many to travel in Dad's Holden so I got to go with my grandfather in his Vanguard.
• Toffees in paper patty pans at the annual school fete on Caulfield Cup day. Acres of the things. You'd bite into them and your jaws would lock. I think it was a parent-led conspiracy: the mouths of hundreds of parish children must have been shut for days.
• The unofficial dinner gong for my family for several years in the late 1960s was the Dr Who theme music, which came on just as my mother was serving dinner. This unforgettable piece of electronica is described by Wikipedia thus: The theme has been often called both memorable and frightening, priming the viewer for what was to follow. I should use it on William and Thomas. "Get to the dinner table or I'll play you the Dr Who theme!"
• One day in the very late 1970s, when the ardour - and arduousness, too - of raising seven children finally found my mother bending ever so slightly towards economy of labour, there appeared on the dinner table something never before seen in my family: a pack of frozen supermarket garlic bread (cooked too long in the oven, of course). The trend was short-lived, for which I feel both guilty and glad.
Readers: your childhood memories associated with food in comments below, please.