Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Not raining, dripping.

Sunday was one of those days that can't make up its mind whether to rain or not. So it just dripped instead. It was like someone wringing out a giant dishrag over the city.

Drip, drip, drip. We drove to the flower stall. The flower guy was trying to keep the rain off about a million bunches of chrysanthemums. I bought a bunch, making his job one-millionth easier.

Then we drove to Mum's. It took a while. Every car in Melbourne was on the road but we made it on time. You can tell you're getting close to Mum's because you can smell the cooking aromas from a distance, probably a suburb or two. Mum doesn't undercook. Yes, I know you're supposed to take mum out for Mother's Day but we dragged her out for her birthday a couple of weeks ago and even then she brought food. She insisted on staying put for Mother's Day. Everyone brought something so Mum didn't have to cook, but what's she going to do all Saturday? Read a book?

Family Tree cousin was already there when we arrived. Family Tree cousin's job in life is to delve into history and her photo albums and packets of old letters accompany her everywhere. The albums are full of sepia photos of people posing too stiffly - men with long droopy moustaches, overdressed women, children with squinting faces and the occasional scrappy dog, sometimes standing out the front of timber houses that look like they're about to fall down and sometimes sitting on a horse, not all at once. Then there are black and white wedding photos from every decade of the twentieth century, all posed outside actual churches except for the ones taken after 1970, which are posed anywhere but churches - on beaches or gardens or in cobbled laneways with large vintage cars in the background. The post-1970 wedding photos are in full colour, as if to provide evidence that the males in the wedding parties are actually wearing lilac or pale green or chocolate brown crushed velvet suits with massive ruffles on their shirts, clown-sized bowties and flared trousers almost covering shoes that look like bricks.

Lunch was the usual feast. You've heard it all before. After lunch, Family Tree cousin opened up the albums again and started reading out some letters. Some of us fell asleep. Some went home or off to in-laws.

We left around four with a promise to Family Tree cousin to dig out those photos of Dad in Noumea during the war and send them to her.

It was still dripping outside.

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