party tricks

AS A YOUNG MOTHER, PA­TRI­CIA NOR­MAN TURNED SIM­PLE PATTY CAKES INTO MAG­I­CAL CRE­ATIONS THAT WERE THE HIGH­LIGHT OF HER CHIL­DREN’S BIRTHDAY PAR­TIES.

Country Style - - HEIRLOOM - WORDS SARAH NEIL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY LISA CO­HEN STYLING LEE BLAY­LOCK

PA­TRI­CIA NOR­MAN WILL hap­pily ad­mit that she’s not a great cook. As a house­wife in the 1960s, she rou­tinely turned out sim­ple meals for her hus­band and four chil­dren. “Fam­ily din­ners mostly con­sisted of meat, potato and two veg,” says Pa­tri­cia’s daugh­ter Ker­rie von Menge. Oc­ca­sion­ally, Pa­tri­cia cooked spaghetti bolog­naise, mak­ing a sauce from just two in­gre­di­ents — mince and to­mato ketchup. “There was no gar­lic or onion, but we loved it be­cause it was some­thing dif­fer­ent.” How­ever, Pa­tri­cia was a good baker and, when it came to her chil­dren’s birthday par­ties, she’d trans­form sim­ple queen cakes — mi­nus the cur­rants — into mag­i­cal cre­ations. She made ‘winged’ cakes for a fairy party, while blue ic­ing, Life Savers and cock­tail um­brel­las were used to dec­o­rate pool party cakes. For a pi­rate party, the queen cakes were topped with choco­late ic­ing, gold coins and hand­made Jolly Roger flags. In the Nor­man fam­ily, Pa­tri­cia be­came known as the Queen of the Queen Cakes. But it wasn’t just her party cakes that peo­ple ad­mired — Ker­rie’s birthday cel­e­bra­tions al­ways had an imag­i­na­tive theme and child­hood friends from Edith­vale, Vic­to­ria, still re­mem­ber them. “In those days there was no such thing as a party shop, and party prod­ucts were lim­ited to bal­loons and stream­ers,” says Ker­rie, who re­calls her mother us­ing card­board, crepe pa­per and glit­ter to cre­ate in­vi­ta­tions, dec­o­ra­tions and lolly bags, wands for a fairy party, crowns for a princess party and swords for a pi­rate party. The most mem­o­rable was Ker­rie’s eighth birthday party, which had a Hawai­ian theme — Pa­tri­cia made crepe pa­per hula skirts and leis for the girls, and card­board pi­rate hats and eye patches for the boys. Now 77, Pa­tri­cia rarely bakes cakes these days, mainly be­cause she’s too busy — she plays ten­nis and golf, and re­cently joined a cy­cling club. And her ath­letic pur­suits have earned her a new moniker — the Queen of the Queen Cakes has been re­named Ac­tive Nan by her eight grand­chil­dren.

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.