one of a kind
JEANNETTE LEE HAS ALWAYS ADMIRED HER BIG SISTER, WHO BESTOWED PRACTICAL ADVICE AND A FOOLPROOF PAVLOVA RECIPE.
WHEN JEANNETTE LEE MARRIED in the late 1960s, she was a fledgling cook. “I was enthusiastic, but not always successful,” she recalls. Sadly, Jeannette’s mother had passed away, so she turned to her older sister for help. “Eunice was my lifeline and some of the recipes she passed on I still use to this day.” Jeannette, 76, has always thought of her big sister as a second mother. When she was born in Newcastle, NSW, in 1940, her two sisters were already in high school and Jeannette has fond memories of Eunice, who spoilt her terribly. “She was a very pretty girl and a real sweetheart — everyone thought so.” Regarded as a great home cook, Eunice (pictured) took a cake-decorating course when she was a young mum and began making wedding cakes from home. What began as a hobby became a successful business and “she was known far and wide for her cakes”. Of all the recipes Eunice passed on to Jeannette when she was a novice cook, this pavlova must be the favourite. “I’d tried making pavlova a couple of times and, even with my new Sunbeam Mixmaster, I ended up with a mess,” says Jeannette, who again askexd Eunice for advice. “She said, ‘I’ve got a foolproof recipe.’ You just threw everything in and it worked.” Forty years later, Eunice’s handwritten recipe is still the one Jeannette uses when she makes dessert for family gatherings, dinners or street Christmas parties. “Pav’s pretty safe,” says Jeannette, who serves it topped with “any fruit that’s about”. Jeannette is still very close to her sister, who is now 88 and lives in a nursing home. “Eunice no longer cooks, but she’s known for her culinary knowledge and the nursing home staffff often ask her advice. She is one of a rare breed who can do anything.”