|Christmas Lights, Queen Street c1950s|
John Oxley Library
The unexpected was being taken to afternoon tea at the Shingle Inn in Edward Street. This happened throughout the year I guess but Christmas Afternoon Tea was special. Decorations and Christmas music playing, fruit mince pies and shortbread shaped like Christmas trees.
Then there were the edible treats that my trusty Nan made. Dates stuffed with marzipan, coconut ice, candied orange rind, marshmallows (different colours), coloured marzipan cut in different shapes, peppermint twists, real butter shortbread, and sometimes a few gingerbread men. Nan had a marble slab in her kitchen that she used for baking and to watch her making peppermint twists was amazing - she would make white and red mixture then twist them together after rolling out the red and white mixture - had to be done quickly. My mother had an American cookery book and that had some great recipes for candy, different types of toffee and fudge and all sorts of interesting recipes. Mum was roped in to help her mother with the Christmas treat baking and making. I remember one year they made barley sugar twists with much hilarity and singed fingers with having to twist the barley sugar while still warm. I still love barley sugar.
After all the making and baking, some of the goodies were packaged up and decorated with ribbons etc. for gifts for neighbours and friends. So much activity in the weeks before Christmas.
Stay tuned for Christmas Dinner...