Last weekend I went to Perth for a family gathering to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. Last year I went for my grandfather's 100th birthday, so you could say that we have some longevity in our family.
When I do go back to Perth, which is where I lived until I was 10 years old, there are a couple of things that I need to do! One is that I have to drink some spearmint flavoured milk. I don't know why, but you can't get it in other places where I have lived in Australia, but for me it is a real taste that I associate particularly with Perth.
As an aside, London Court is probably my favourite place to go when I do visit Perth. It is an alleyway between two major roads in the centre of Perth that was built during 1930s but it was built to replicate a Tudor laneway. I loved going there as a kid, and I still love going there now. It is filled with tourist shops or overpriced boutiques but I do still love wandering through it whenever I head to Perth. Unfortunately because it was such a quick trip last weekend I didn't get to go there this time.
I always get worried if they are checking my hand luggage at the airport as it must look a bit strange when my only souvenirs from visiting Perth are a couple of litres of Spearmint Milk and a couple of cans of chilli.
A couple of other food memories: One day I was visiting Perth with a friend, and we were wandering around Freo (or Fremantle if you aren't a local) when we picked a random restaurant, and I ordered Garlic Prawns with Rice. Every now and again if I go out for dinner I will order this, but it has NEVER lived up to my memories of that meal so long ago.
I can't remember the last time I actually ate it, but if I see Steak and Kidney Pie on a menu I will always and forever think about my grandparents. The story goes that my grandmother had been serving it up to my grandfather as a meal for 20 or 30 years, so it was something of a surprise when one day he turned around and told her not only did he not like it now, but that he had never, ever liked it.
We moved away from my family when I was about 10, so we have lived away from them for a very long time now. I was very surprised when I went back to Perth when my grandfather was in his 70s because he suddenly had developed a liking for cappuccinos, so the both my grandparents used to trot down to the local Kmart, and have a cappuccino. He used to to eat the froth off of the top before drinking the coffee, and we would pretend to be horrified that he did that! Neither of them get out of the house because they both have restricted mobility now, but the simple pleasure of my grandparents drinking cappuccinos and making that same joke every time will be one of my enduring memories of them.
So often it is the small things that we remember. My auntie will be horrified that I mention this if she happens to see that I have written about it, but we were staying with her a few years ago, and we were having chicken parmigiana for dinner (which is chicken schnitzel covered in tomato sauce and then with melted cheese). When we were sitting down for dinner the boy whispered to me that there was no cheese, and I shushed him and said maybe they just have it that way. When we got up in the morning, she said she had woken up at 5am suddenly realising that she had forgotten the cheese. When I said that we were going to stay with her again this time, he said to me that maybe we could have parmigiana with cheese this time. Because we see them so rarely I am pleased that he has a specific memory that he associates with her! When we were over there this time he even asked her about having chicken parmigiana with cheese.
Well, this turned out to be a longer post than I thought it would!
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