Food Glorious Food

I love the food in Bali, it is so wonderfully flavorful, so many ingredients go in to preparing the food, and it is an amazingly laborious process. I remember when I first arrived, I was taught how to make the infamous peanut sauce, using a pestle and mortar. It was really hard work! I don’t think I had even seen a pestle and mortar before, let alone used one!

So, the food is great, but every meal revolves around one key ingredient…rice. I like rice, don’t get me wrong, but for every meal? Even breakfast? Nope, I just cannot do that! When I first started living here, there really was not much choice of western food, and I used to dream of the food back home. Over the years, more and more western restaurants and delis have sprung up, and just about everything I once craved is available, with the exception of Marmite, I guess that will never make its way here!

Growing up in England, I was fed a pretty simple English diet. My mother was not a great cook, or rather, I was a very picky eater, so she would probably blame me for the fact that she did not experiment more. She had a few recipes that she did well, and she made great homemade pizza and quiche that were melt in your mouth delicious.

My fondest memory though is of the food served at my birthday parties growing up. Like most English people, my family likes tradition, so every year we would have the same dish, and I never grew tired of it! It was not fancy in any way, but I loved it. It consisted of chicken drumsticks, cooked to perfection, with a lightly crispy outer coating, created with a seasoned batter. These were served with oven baked chips, that are so much better than greasy fried ones. They were crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.

I can still picture our kitchen, with the long wooden table down the center, decorated with a festive tablecloth, and covered with party snacks, twiglets, sausage rolls, cheese and pineapple chunks served on toothpicks and other party favorites. The smell of the chicken and chips cooking in the oven permeated the air throughout the house.

My father would always set a treasure hunt, that took us from room to room, following cryptic clues. I always cheated, but I still loved the tradition of it all. As we searched the house for the clues, the smells of the chicken juices made our mouths water. The hungrier we got, the more frantic we became to find the treasure. Once discovered, we barely cared about the treasure anymore, all we wanted to do was rush to the kitchen to devour the food!

Hmm, I am making myself hungry just thinking about it! Perhaps I will ask my mother to recreate this dish for us when we visit this summer. (hear that mum??)

15 thoughts on “Food Glorious Food

  1. What a wonderful joyous scene your recreated, well done. The English haven’t historically been known for adventurous cooking but I guess Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver et al are changing that perception. As for Marmite, have you tried converting to Vegemite, the Aussie staple? I suspect the proximity of Bali and the number of Aussie expats and tourists would provide a demand for it?

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  2. This was such a lovely story. I really felt connected to your childhood, and could imagine your parents, I wanted to read more which means this was the perfect length. Your personal writing style is so enjoyable.

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  3. My mother loved marmite and always said that Vegemite was no substitute. When I visited the UK many moons ago I took my own Vegemite ands from time to time shared it around. Everyone loved it. Having never been to Bali I don’t know if you can get it there. If you can, you will soon become addicted and have it on toast at breakfast. =You will never need to even think of rice in the AM ever again.

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    • I am a die hard marmite fan, and like your mother feel vegemite is no substitute. However, having said that, it is not bad, and is definitely better than nothing! Vegemite on toast with a cup of English tea makes a pretty fine breakfast!

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  4. I’m hungry now! 🙂 Do you have a post about how to make peanut sauce? That process sounds interesting. I just now came over to your site, so I may find the answer, but do you ever post recipes? I have a friend here from Indo and she misses home very much…I’d love to make her something traditional but wouldn’t even know where to start.

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  5. Oh man… This post just made me realize that I haven’t eaten yet today and in the time it took me to read it I have gone from fine to starving! Your favorite dish sounds like the ultimate comfort food – delicious!

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