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