Bella continues an ‘old’ tradition
Despite growing up in a generation of convenience, Natimuk teenager Bella Fort has a strong appreciation of both the efforts and rewards of ‘old-fashioned’ cooking.
Bella, 15, is continuing a family tradition of preserving fruit and making her own jam, sauce and relish, using methods and recipes passed on by her grandmother, Glenys Fort.
Mrs Fort’s interest in the ‘dying’ art of preserving was sparked by her own mother.
“I was always encouraged by my mother. She used to do a lot of preserving, because there was always plenty of food around in those days,” she said.
“I suppose I’ve just kept up the tradition.
“They reckon I’m the best marmalade cooker. I sell it down at the craft shop.”
Mrs Fort said although she enjoyed preserving fruits and making jams and condiments, she understood why the process was becoming less and less popular.
“The way of living changed, really,” she said.
“It’s so much easier to stew fruit and put it in the freezer now than preserve it.
“It’s the same with saucemaking – it is a long procedure.
But I think it’s worth it. Preserving and making jam is always rewarding. It’s nice to see it in the cupboard.”
Mrs Fort, who has lived in Natimuk her whole life, is a regular contributor to Natimuk Show.
She entered several items in the milestone 150th show at the weekend. has
Bella, who has also entered many sections in Natimuk Show competitions since primary school, entered jam and preserve categories for the first time this year.
“I’ve always encouraged Bella to enter as many sections as she can,” Mrs Fort said.
“It’s always rewarding when she sees the tickets. Bella has always lived with me and I’ve always encouraged her.
“When she said, ‘I’m going to do some jam this year’, I said, ‘well you can have a go – but you don’t realise how long you have to stand there and stir’.”
Bella’s motivation? “To beat Nana”.
Bella said she enjoyed competition.
“Mum’s always said I should put stuff in and see – coming from the same household and the same method of making it – the difference on how it comes out,” she said.
In the end, the pair entered items in different categories, enjoying a wealth of success.
Bella said while she would encourage other young people to give preserving or jam-making a go, it would be difficult without guidance.
“All this stuff is ‘old fashioned’,” she said.
“The generation coming through, none of our parents did that stuff. It got lost after Nana’s generation and it hasn’t really be transferred to us. These days, everything is in a shop.
“You can go there and buy a packet of jam in any flavour you want, from several different brands. “It’s a lot more convenient.” Bella, who volunteers with Natimuk Agricultural and Pastoral the Society, said she hoped to see more categories for young people at future Natimuk shows.
“We need more sections for kids stuff,” she said.
“It would be good if the society would have more input from young people.
Bella was recognised for her commitment to the Natimuk community at the show.
Wimmera police superintendent Paul Margetts and Horsham Station Commander Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent presented Bella with the Victoria Police Youth Award.
The award recognizes community spirit and service, community pride, leadership, initiative, achievement and personal courage-confidence.
Bella received the award for being a reliable role model to many youth in the Natimuk community.
FAMILY TRADITION: Natimuk’s Glenys Fort and granddaughter Bella Fort entered several items in Natimuk Show competitions this year. The pair enjoyed success throughout the day.