Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Tuesday did not start well. I lost my mock crock faux vintage handbag, Jack cried when I took him to family day care (though he cries every week when I drop him off - stopping exactly 2.3 seconds after I go) and I left my pink pillbox hat at home. As I was running behind schedule (and that was before I got stuck behind the person driving 20km below the limit and the roadworks) I decided to forget about the hat and forge ahead. I arrived at the library clutching the makings of a porcupine (minus some of the plastic cheese which S had sliced off to put on his sanger) and carrying my handbag which I had found but which broke in the car park. At lunch I purchased a retro platter ($2) to make the most of my porcupine (it had holes drilled in it so someone must have loved it so much they had hung it on their wall) and some sweet treats from another decade.
When I was in the bookshop and we had author events at the library we struggled to get many attendees, sometimes embarrassingly so but over fifty people has rsvp'd for the retro recipes so we rounded up as many chairs as possible and arranged and rearranged and then I prepared to assemble my masterpiece, the porcupine. I wasn't actually sure if this is what it is really called but it seems that it is and I suppose it's rather apt.

work in progress or a sputnik

It does make you wonder who would've thought, "right I've got twenty people coming over for drinks, two jars of red and green pickled onions, tasty cheese, toothpicks and an orange. I know I'll make a porcupine!" Apparently some other versions also had canned pineapple.
After some debate about how it should be put together I created my culinary piece de resistance and it was truly extraordinary. My only problem, how to get the smell of pickled onions off my fingers. Then I touched up my makeup (as all good 50's housewives should) and got to work on the white bread and asparagus rolls and the 'dessert platter'. I'm not sure what was going on back then but surely the prevalence of toothpicks in all forms of food must be the real reason for the depletion of the rainforests and numerous mouth injuries.
The professor arrived and assisted and then it was time for the talks. The room was quite crowded and abuzz with excitement.

Amy, hostess with the mostess, with her apron and pearls
and standing just so (try to ignore the bin behind her)

Amy covered the 50's and 60's with talk of prawn cocktails, party loaves - don't ask - and blancmange (amongst many many exciting food sensations). It was very funny and you could hear the people muttering in agreement as she mentioned things (iceberg! ooh yes. Oh Tripe! Brains cream! mock turtle!). Then Sara from the tafe talked about the 70's which was like a trip through my family's eating habits though no one mentioned fondue related accidents. My father once set fire to a fetching pair of flares when a fondue dinner party went pear shaped.

asparagus and white bread rolls

Then Sara demonstrated Coronation Chicken (originally Jubilee Chicken) which was actually quite tasty with it's celery, mayo, mango chutney and curry powder. There was a stampede for the food and wine (Nanna's love a buffet) and I heard one remark, "oooh there's dessert!" as she eyed off the neenish tarts, iced vovos and lattice biscuits. Not long after I noticed her clutching a tart in a serviette so she didn't miss out.

Dessert (all storebought and yes those tarts are filled with mock cream)

The night was a great success and such fun. It certainly did bring all those memories back (Slices of devon rolled around cold mashed potato which unfortunately is a a more recent memory from fashion forward Junee).


Amy said...

Too much fun! I love the way I think "poor old Junee" when I live twenty minutes away in ├╝ber-sophisticated Wagga :)

Anonymous said...

a tasty treat trip down memory lane. love the porcupine. well done! F xo

Alison said...

Oooh I'd so like to see a pic of you in your pillbox!

Tres chic!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love it! It's been too long since I tried a porcupine. Although a pic of you in your outfit would also be cool too if you have one!

jetlagmama@themanor said...

Alas, no photo of me. I am extremely cunning at evading cameras.