Peter Gordon’s taste of home
Fresh fish for breakfast, canned oysters from the pharmacy and his dad’s fritters make up
hen I was growing up, my father Bruce wanted us all to like oysters. In New Zealand, you get special bluff oysters from the south of South Island: lovely specimens with the creamiest flavour.
When I was little, though, for some reason you could only get them in a can. Which you bought in a pharmacy. Not sure why. New Zealand was strange in those days.
WSo we weren’t at all convinced about oysters. The texture was too much for us. We’d watch our dad shove one in his gob and think “that is so disgusting”. So he decided to cut stale white bread into cubes and pour the juice from a can of oysters (which he ate) over them, then dip those into a fish-and-chips-style beer batter. He’d fry them – a delicious oyster-flavoured crunch – and that’s how he got us all hooked. We’re all great oyster fans now.
We lived in Castlecliff, a part of Whanganui, a coastal town on the west coast of North Island. Our house was known as the Zigzag House – you can see the colourful roof-tile pattern from which it got its name on Google Earth. It sits on a half-acre plot. We had a swimming pool that my father built, and an electric merry-go-round based on a washing machine motor that he knocked together, too. All the kids were given a bit of land, and we’d