Monday, 23 August 2010

The good ole days


Pumpkin is a very popular vegetable in Australia and is a favourite when roasted with potatoes and onions around a leg of lamb for the main family meal on a Sunday. It is also used to mash together with potatoes, butter and pepper and salt. Pumpkin soup is popular as are Pumpkin scones. Pumpkin Pie is not particularly popular in Australia.

These photos of 'Queensland Blue' pumpkins were taken on Saturday as I wandered around the new 'farmer's market' at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst. Although sunny and 18C the wind was bitter and chilly. Similar to the bitter winds that blew through our political establishment that very same day. Over the next 14 days, we await the result of a 'hung' parliament.


When my father was demobbed from the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) in November 1945, he determined never to go back and work for a boss! Instead, he bought an old Bedford truck, constructed a frame for the rear tray, covered it with canvas, attached a large set of scales, and set up 'shop' as a door to door 'fruit'n'veg' man on the north shore of Sydney.

He would travel down to Paddy's Markets in the city twice a week, and spend the rest of the week selling to house-wives in Turramurra, Wahroonga, Waitara, Hornsby, Asquith and Normanhurst. He did this until the middle of 1956 when he decided to move to the country and chance his arm as a farmer. To this day, he can tell the difference between pumpkins. He can tell a Butternut from a Kent, a Golden Nugget from a Queensland Blue.


A member of the Mellow Yellow Monday community.

Thank you to Elaine for contacting me about my incorrect definition of AIF (I said Infantry instead of Imperial). Thanks for the heads-up, Elaine.

29 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post and beautiful images Julie.

EG Wow said...

The flesh of this squash is quite red. I'm used to a more yellow or orangish (is there such a word?) colour, but this looks tasty indeed.

How interesting that your dad decided to work for himself after the war. I don't recall a door-to-door vegetable salesman but I DO remember a bread (and cookies and cakes) salesman as well as a milkman and a man who sold fresh fish. My how the times have changed!

Mildred said...

Absolutely stunning photos Julie. I have childhood memories here in GA-USA of the fruit and veg. man coming door to door and then my mom and her neighbors would sit together and prepare the veg. for cooking. I have had pumpkin pie and pumpkin scones and bread but never pumpkin as a vegetable.

Steffe said...

Always interesting with some family stories. And I like the photo of the old truck.

Gunn said...

Your top photo has fantastic light and composition.
Like a painting.

anjoe playhouse said...

Only few years ago we danish begin an import of more special pumpkin. Pumpkin soup is now known a bit and too mash with potatoes - all thanks to worldwide tv-programs :-)

Your photos are great, and family history too. Back in the start of the 1970's a danish haulage contractor still could provide his wife and children; few years later a big lorry was "a demand"...

Julie said...

Thank you for these responses, friends. I suspect the changes are world-wide. There is no such thing as a door-to-door F&V salesman anymore, nor fish, nor brooms, nor even milk (although I can remember one at MY house even in the early '80s. I think too that women go to work more, and the ones at home PREFER to go shopping for the company. My daughter does her foodstuffs shopping online and it is delivered to her before breakfast! The modern version perhaps ...

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

Never eat pumpkin here but I recall now that the first meal we had in NZ at a restaurant in Christchurch was roast lamb with pumpkin - very tasty it was too.

Andrew said...

A farmer's market at Taylor Square. Not sure that I could afford to shop there.

Rinkly Rimes said...

Pumpkin was 'cattle food' in England where I grew up! Now it's my favourite vegetable. Roasted? Heaven! When my mother came out from the UK she couldn't believe we were eating it. But she was quickly converted.

Julie said...

Yes, one of my very favourite vegies, too, Brenda. Especially roasted, where I eat it skin and all.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I don't like Queensland Blues because they are too hard to cut, give me a Kent or Butternut.

I like your Dad's truck. Reminds me of my Dads.

Ann said...

Looks good enough to eat :)

Re your comment "Now it comes down to being inclusive with the ability to negotiate, compromise and realise that we the people demand to know how decisions are being reached."

Trouble is, I can't see either party being able to do that. Methinks we have another election coming up, possibly within 6 months and if not, after the Greens take their seats in the Senate next July.

Peter said...

Love the connection between the pumpkin and your dad, bring back the home service.

J Bar said...

I only saw this market for the first time a few weeks ago when I drove past. I'll have to drop by sometime for a closer look.

Randy said...

Love the color in the first photo! Never eaten a green one before it does sound delicious.

Lily Hydrangea said...

Your gorgeous colorful photos almost make me not dread the cooler weather coming our way with the impending Autumn!

Jayne said...

Love the shots and the tale, thank you :)

Francisca said...

I came to your page, Julie, and after reading the first sentences had to stop to get something to eat... I hadn't realized how hungry I was, and your evocative words went straight to my stomach. My lunch was nothing as fancy as your delicious meal, but I feel much better. This is a lovely post. The top photo is magnificent (I have so much to learn!) - the colors just superb. I would like your father, at least the one you portray here. Here in Manila we can still get home deliveries, but the only only I use is home massages. :-)

[Your note on my post earlier: yes, no surprise. :-) The seeds of communism came from an altruistic mind... but over time the movement lost its heart. So yes, "equality and brotherly love" became their standard for controlled PR. Like you, neither most of the socialist art nor Chinese opera (Cantonese or Beijing) resonate with me. I don't much care for a lot of the standard Chinese paintings either, but that really depends on the piece. Both cultures, of course, have brilliant art in many forms and materials. Enjoy your travels and Murakami.]

brattcat said...

Loved hearing about your father, Julie.

'Tsuki said...

Nice family story... And the pics are talking for themselves.

Rimkogeren said...

Thanks for your comment :-)
Great photos and history.
And your blog - I love it.

Loui♥ said...

Julie..
excellent post!
very interesting blue pumpkin!
thanks for stopping by my MYM post!
warm sandy hugs..
Loui♥

Stephanie V said...

I really enjoy your stories and photos from the past. I also liked all the pumpkin ideas...scones sound yummy!

Ewa said...

I didn't know there is so many kind of pumpkins, you learn every day something new, love your photos

Gattina said...

Besides a beautiful picture also a very interesting post !
Pumpkin time is here in October, it's approaching :) !

Eden said...

Great post. I love pumpkin and I always grow one in the garden. This time I am preparing my garden for few vegetables that I am planning to plant. My favourite is the Japanese pumpkin.

Thank you for visiting.

Ann said...

I grew a pumpkin vine last year, I don't eat pumpkin. I gave one to friends, and use the other to teach the cinderella story.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love this story Julie! The way you tied your dad's interesting story into your visit to today's farmer's market was great -- I get those kind of memory jars often, as I suppose most people do, but it's rare to see someone write about them so well.

I think over on this side of the pond we'd use the word squash" for the more general term and pumpkin as just one specific variety. Butternut is my favorite eating squash -- but I haven't even ever tried all of the ones that are available even in the supermarket.

Whatever they're called I'm hungry now for an oven-roasted meal -- not going to happen as we travel in our little van (caravan), so I'll have to wait until we get home to a big oven.

thanks for sharing your memories and pix.