Hodge Podge Bit day by June McInnes

The McLeod River Post - - Points Of View - June McInnes

Bit day, it used to strike fear in some hearts and joy in oth­ers when I was a kid.

That was the day that your mum or gran or who­ever did the cook­ing in your house would if you had one, clean out the fridge and con­coct a meal from said trea­sures.

If you didn’t have a fridge then the pantry, wher­ever you kept your food.

It could be any­thing that went into that pot and usu­ally came out as stew or a pie fill­ing of some sort. My dad, didn’t like curry, so it was stew, usu­ally with, if we had it a tin of stew­ing steak, thrown in at the last minute, so as to dis­guise the rest of the food.

Maybe add a few tinned car­rots or fresh if you had any left kick­ing around.

Fresh food wasn’t al­ways avail­able like it is now for me as a kid and although my mother was an ex­cel­lent cook, we had to re­sort to the can opener when things got sparse to liven things up a bit, or stretch them fur­ther.

Be­ing thrifty was al­ways on the cards grow­ing up and no­body could make things go around or far­ther than my mum. She used to say that, “ne­ces­sity is the mother of all in­ven­tion,” and she’s right. If we couldn’t buy some­thing we needed, we’d try to make it, both my par­ents were like that, but then they’d been through the Sec­ond World War where you couldn’t just nip to the shops and load up on gro­ceries if you had the money and the mind set. My mum used to knit clothes for me as a child and socks for my dad and jumpers, she would make jams and chut­neys, bake cake and pies. If we had the in­gre­di­ents.

I owe ev­ery­thing I learnt about be­ing thrifty to my par­ents. Thank you Mum and Dad.

To­day I still do th­ese things for my fam­ily. I get a kick out of mak­ing it and feel I’m earn­ing my keep, but I’m lucky I’m at home and not out to work.

Bit day still ex­ists in our house, the only dif­fer­ence is we like curry and I won’t waste any­thing we can’t eat, I bake it into dog bis­cuits, they love my home-made dog bis­cuits.

Potato cakes were a thing in our house, that’s when you knew it was the end of the month, that or bub­ble and squeak, a mix­ture of cold, boiled cab­bage and boiled pota­toes, chopped up. Sea­soned with pep­per and salt and browned in a skil­let, served with a cou­ple of eggs or cheese grated on top then broiled to melt the cheese or even with pick­les and cold meat if you had any. It greatly de­pended on what you had left to go with it. I still love bub­ble and squeak to this day, so does the fam­ily.

Bub­ble and squeak

1 green or white cab­bage, cooked and chopped 3lb of peeled, boiled and drained pota­toes, cut into pieces Salt and pep­per to taste.

Cook­ing spray or cook­ing oil for the skil­let

Method

Mix the cab­bage and pota­toes to­gether, sea­son with the salt and pep­per.

Place skil­let on the stove and add a lit­tle oil to fry this mix.

This mix can be fried as a whole or made into pat­ties by adding an egg and stir­ring it in. Form­ing pat­ties with your hands and fry­ing them off in­di­vid­u­ally. I only add an egg when I’m mak­ing in­di­vid­ual ones.

They go well with cold meats or eggs, even cheese. They freeze well and can be mi­crowaved un­der cling wrap to re­heat.

A lit­tle bit of fru­gal­ity for to­day :). In­ci­den­tally, don’t for­get to squeeze the cab­bage af­ter you drain it, to re­move ex­cess wa­ter, oth­er­wise your pat­ties might be a bit wet and not bind to­gether so well. If your pan fry­ing it, cook un­til there are brown crispy bits on the pota­toes. Like when mak­ing hash browns. Ba­con is an­other favourite with this.

Bit day wasn’t al­ways a bad day in our house, happy eat­ing.

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