Food The truckie and the passionfruit sponge
FORMER truck driver, 93year-old Bill Bevan, became known as the baker in the family after winning a sponge competition at his granddaughter’s school.
Bevan, of Wollongong (pictured), discovered baking late in life, starting out in his 60s after his wife became ill.
His greatest achievement in the kitchen so far has been a three-tiered fruitcake for another granddaughter’s wedding when he was 86.
But his late wife Mauva’s favourite cake – a passionfruit sponge – has become his speciality.
“It (baking) is relaxing, I get enjoyment out of it and knowing that you’re doing something for other people – they comment on it” he says.
Bevan’s advice for anxious first-time bakers is to just give it a go.
“When you’re doing something, of course, you’re worried, but put that in the back of your mind,” he says.
“If it’s a failure, what have you lost? Nothing. It gives you more experience so you know what to do next time.”
Bevan’s sponge is featured in a new publication, Heirloom Recipes, showcasing family baking classics – each with a story to tell.
The recipes came from reader submissions to the magazine, Country Style, over the past two years.
The magazine’s editor-inchief Victoria Carey says food is part of the fabric of family life.
“There are so many beautiful emotional stories (about recipes). It just shows you how powerful food is in terms of memory,” she says.
One of Carey’s own family recipes, based on a memorable dessert her grandmother served up one night, is also featured in the publication. “My nan, she was quite academic,” she says. “A schoolteacher and working fulltime. She wasn’t known for her cooking skills and I was so amazed when she made me this queen pudding.” magsonline.com.au/ country-style-heirloom -recipes
Bill Bevan’s passionfruit sponge cake Picture: Country Style Heirloom Recipes