fun and games

AF­TER BEAT­ING HER GRAND­DAUGH­TERS AT CARDS, PHYL­LIS HARD­ING WON THEIR AF­FEC­TIONS WITH BACH­E­LORS’ BUT­TONS.

Country Style - - YOUR PAGE - WORDS SARAH NEIL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY MARK ROPER STYLING LEE BLAY­LOCK

ONE OF JO

Chat­field’s fond­est child­hood mem­o­ries is of mak­ing th­ese colour­ful bis­cuits with her grand­mother, Phyl­lis Hard­ing (pic­tured right). “I re­mem­ber my sis­ter Robyn and I help­ing Grandma to make her fa­mous bach­e­lors’ but­tons,” Jo says. “We were al­ways a lit­tle slow at putting the ic­ing on — prob­a­bly be­cause we messed around a bit — and as a re­sult the hun­dreds and thou­sands wouldn’t stick, so Grandma’s kitchen floor ended up cov­ered in them! I can still see her say­ing, ‘Come on then. Hurry up, girls, hurry up,’ with a warm smile on her face.” Jo de­scribes Phyl­lis as “very grounded” and at­tributes her grand­mother’s de­meanour to her ru­ral up­bring­ing. Born in 1907, Phyl­lis was the sec­ond youngest of eight chil­dren who grew up on an or­chard near Somerville on Vic­to­ria’s Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula. As well as work­ing on the farm, all the chil­dren were ex­pected to “help with the day-to-day tasks of look­ing af­ter each other, and get­ting the meals on the ta­ble”. As a young girl, it was Phyl­lis’s job to make the cakes for her large fam­ily. “She loved to cook and could make just about any­thing,” says Amy Flagg, Jo’s mother and Phyl­lis’s el­dest daugh­ter. “Sponges, lam­ing­tons, scones… she’d had a lot of prac­tice.” Phyl­lis’s motto was ‘it’s nice to be nice’. “She of­ten said that,” says Jo. “She was a very kind per­son. She was for­ever help­ing oth­ers and never said any­thing nasty about any­one.” And Phyl­lis al­ways had a lot of time for her four grand­daugh­ters — she en­joyed teach­ing them to cook and to play cards. “Grandma was a sen­sa­tional card player,” re­calls Jo. “Af­ter giv­ing us a whip­ping at eu­chre, a cup of tea and a plate of bach­e­lors’ but­tons would al­ways ap­pear. I do miss her be­ing around, but at least we have bach­e­lors’ but­tons to re­mind us of her.”

If you look for­ward to this page each month, you’ll love Coun­try Style Heir­loom Recipes, $16.99, a col­lec­tion of 28 recipes and the sto­ries of the peo­ple who made them spe­cial. Avail­able at mag­son­line.com. au/coun­try-style-spe­cials

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