Cultural Feasts: Differences can unite or they can divide!
When I first went to my husband’s parent’s home for dinner, the differences were overwhelming, to say the least.
If you have been following me on my blog for a while now, you would know I am of Greek heritage, my parents migrating to Australia many years ago – my father came on a boat and my mother came in a plane – and here they raised their four children.
We may have lived in Australia, but in our home, it was Greece. We spoke Greek, we ate Greek, we went to a Greek church and we hung out with other Greek families. We were very polite to our Australian neighbours, and often invited them in for coffee, shared our sweets with them and helped them whenever there was a need. But still, everything around our family home was Greek.
So when I go to my husband’s parent’s home for dinner, I am in for a cultural shock. They all sat around the table quietly eating their food. Our family table was loud, lacked manners and well, was loud. Greg’s family was very polite, spoke quietly and prepared their food very different to the way I was used to.
I remember looking at the food and wondering what to do with it. There was boiled cauliflower, boiled beans, silverside and sliced chicken. There was no dressing on the vegetables or salad, no salsa on the beans or chicken and no olive oil for the bread, which was already buttered.
Being a shy teenager with people I am not familiar with, I took a little bit of food and put it on my plate, which made it look like I was dieting! His parent’s must have been wondering why I was such a light eater!
But the other side to the coin is just as hilarious – well embarrassing for me let me tell you! Talk about cultural differences.
Greg and I are dating for a whole 2 weeks when my mum decides to take him aside and have a ‘chat’. Oh my goodness…I was so embarrassed I could have died! This is how it went….
Now you need to imagine my mum, short plump and has a heavy Greek accent.
“Greg, I want to talk to you. I happy you take my daughter out but I want you to know, you no take her out for good time, you take her out for marriage.”
Well, if the ground could have opened up right at that moment…..anyway we were in the car on our way out to have dinner and Greg turns to me and says,
“Is that normal what your mum said?”
Oh if only that ground could open up again….
Differences can unite or they can divide!
Greg and I dated for the next 2 years and there are many stories I am keen to share with you...but one story at a time is enough for you to digest...and have that belly laugh!
What I do want to do is share a recipe with you which I have put a little twist on it. Grandma Hazel always made a Raspberry Coconut Slice when visiting and we all loved eating it. It was her go to recipe and she taught her grandchildren how to make it too.
My recipe has been altered a little, I have used orange marmalade instead of raspberry jam and the topping has ground pistachios and orange zest added. I have also made them in individual serves using a muffin tray with loose bases. I found this tray while holidaying in Melbourne city last month and it is the bomb! Easy release for individual serves of whatever you fancy making..especially mini cheesecakes…the best baking tray ever!
Anyway…I am getting carried away…here is my recipe and I hope you enjoy making these traditional little cakes and create wonderful memories with your children, grandchildren and extended family and friends.
Orange & Pistachio Coconut Slice
½ cup caster sugar
1 egg (55g)
¼ cup self-raising flour
¾ cup plain flour
1 tablespoon custard powder
½ cup orange marmalade
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup pistachio meal
zest of 1 orange
1. Preheat oven to 180*C and lightly oil muffin tray with loose bases.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients. Spread dough evenly in muffin holes. Top with a small teaspoon of marmalade.
3. To make coconut topping: combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place tablespoonfuls of topping on top of jam using up all mixture.
4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden. Cool for a few minutes before removing from muffin tray.