We have a saying in my family to describe memories from yesteryear. Things we remember with fondness, anything, be it food, a smell, place, event, etc. That saying is nostalgia bread.
Today was a nostalgia bread moment.
I am looking after Mum this weekend and as always, getting her to make a decision about what she wants to eat can be an uphill struggle! Today was not such a day. Today was easy, today was delicious and today took me back to when I was three or thereabouts. Certainly before I started Primary School.
Today was a ham and rice day.
Ham and rice. Never rice and ham. Such a simple dish, a no brainer to cook and in my mind, always wonderful.
When we lived in Crowborough, in East Sussex, Thursday was ham and rice day because that’s when the meat van would drive around the estate where we lived and Mum bought fresh meat and slices of ham off the bone. Proper ham, you know the kind. Not the pink plastic reformed, sliced to within an inch of its life, ham. Proper ham.
She would cut up a thick slice into little pieces and cook some white rice, which was always finished off with a knob of butter and salt and pepper. Then she mixed the two together and served it to me for lunch.
What a treat!
And, it was always served in the same place.
My sister had a one-piece fold away metal desk and chair contraption with a blackboard desk that lived in the conservatory bit at the back of the house. It was passed down to me once she had grown out of it and I was always sitting in it and drawing random nonsense with bits of chalk then rubbing it out to start again, probably using the sleeve of whatever I was wearing (much to Mum’s irritation no doubt). The frame was blue and the desk had the letters of the alphabet around the edge and probably other things but I can’t remember.
Mum would place my plate on the desk and I would squeeze into the chair as fast as I could to devour the deliciousness. Never a morsel left. Practically licking the plate clean.
And today, I prepared my plate as it had always been done and will continue to be so, and I remembered those innocent days, carefree childhood days when it seemed that the sun was always shining and there was always ham and rice on Thursdays.