Monday, September 10, 2012


In our household when my late brother and I were children it didn’t take long to count out the family’s money supply. There was never much money in our family’s bank account; sometimes none at all. The times the household coffers were depleted, bare-faced raids were conducted upon the contents of our Commonwealth Bank tin money boxes. Those days, every kid had one beside their bed.

We never minded, nor did we expect our money boxes to be refilled. Without complaint, we eagerly attended to that pressing matter of refilling the money boxes ourselves by concentrated scavenging efforts in search of empty soft drink bottles and newspapers to lug to the local stores in exchange for coins.

Our family may not have had much money, but we were fortunate in that we had a Nana who had a wealth of stories worth much more than their weight in gold or in a bagful of rare 1930 copper pennies. Time after time, we pestered our Nana to relate her bank of stories; stories of the “olden days”, of which she never tired of telling.

There are some folks who, unfortunately, are very poor. I don’t mean in the money sense, but in their characters. Some are interested only in what material things are left when a parent and/or grandparent departs this world. Their greedy, selfish actions bring to mind the wailing women clad in black depicted in “Zorba, the Greek”; the hags who rifled through the belongings of the newly-deceased “Madame Hortense”; Alexis Zorba’s "Bouboulina”; the ex-courtesan whose still warm body lay prone upon her bed.

In the meantime, lacking compassion, like of a committee of ravenous vultures, the old hags descended upon the dead woman’s possessions, ripping her bedroom and home apart in search of material items.

People who act that way are deficient in what is most valuable in their lives…their family history. Their avid, shallow interest in the material things too often means they miss out on the myriad stories that should not be let go; stories that should never go untold. Of course, not every story is a happy one; not every story has a happy ending. That’s life, though, isn’t it? Regardless, whether happy or sad, every story handed down through a family is woven into who we are; and who our children are; and so on through future generations.

Sometimes we are guilty of feeling shame when no shame should be felt at all. Much of what has gone on before is out of our hands and control; and, in particular, that applies to what went on a century or more ago! It’s all grist for the mill of one’s life. For those with children who choose not to pass on stories from their family history to their offspring are being very unfair to the younger generations. It’s so very selfish and unthinking not to do so. Those not interested in learning the stories and passing them on are self-centred and thoughtless.

Life isn’t easy; it never has been; and I doubt that it ever will be.
The greed displayed by many; their preference for material possessions over the possession of family tales is a blight that affects far too many people. Hovering and picking over a deceased relative’s belongings; and expecting a handout is shameful.

I feel lucky. I’m rich even though I inherited nothing from my grandmother or my mother in the material sense, but I did inherit a multitude of stories.

It’ll be slim pickings when I flip over the edge. There will be no fighting over my leftovers. I have no wealth to leave; but I do possess a wealth of stories, if anyone is interested!

Leftover Roast Beef Soup: Heat a little olive oil and butter in large saucepan. Sauté 2 large onions, sliced in rings, until soft and golden, but not brown; add 4 cups of beef stock. Add 300g diced, leftover roast beef…more or less as desired, and 2 cups of diced leftover vegetables…whatever you have, and, again, as much as desired. Bring to the boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Divide into oven-proof bowls; float thick slices of stale sourdough, hearty wheat, rye or multi-grain bread on top of soup. Cover with each with a slice of provolone or Swiss cheese. Place under grill or in oven until cheese bubbles and browns.

Leftover Lamb Curry: Cut trimmed, leftover roast lamb into strips about ¼-inch thick. Sauté 1 cup chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in a little oil; stir until onion begins to brown lightly, about 6-7 minutes. Being lazy…add 2 tablespoons quality curry powder and ½ teaspoon ground cumin; stir until spices are fragrant; about 30 seconds. Stir in lamb; add 1 heaped tablespoon of fruit chutney and one chopped, very ripe banana. Add 1-1/2 cups of chicken stock; bring to boil over high heat; season with salt and cayenne pepper, to taste. Mix 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) and ¼ cup stock. Stir into pan; stir until boiling resumes. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes. Serve curry with hot rice and suitable curry accompaniments such as; chutney; sliced banana; yoghurt, sliced cucumber etc. Leftover cooked roast chicken is a good substitute for the lamb.

Leftover Chicken Quiche: Preheat oven to 220C (428F). Using a 23cm pre-made pie shell (put pie shell into quiche dish) – arrange chopped, cooked chicken evenly over base; cover with 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese. In a small bowl beat 4 eggs with a fork; stir in 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream, 1x35g packet of French Onion soup mix and 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Pour into pie shell; sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake in oven for 15 minutes; and then lower heat to 180C (355F); bake for 30 minutes more; allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.


  1. What's 'left over chicken'?

  2. Duck right under, Cosmo!

  3. Hi Lee,

    My parents were poor and I grew up poor, but I had more riches than most kids.

    In school I was shocked to learned most kids I knew never saw the ocean or the mountains.

    My dad took us to the ocean every few years(only a hundred and fifty miles away) and we went camping all summer long.

    I received back then what most kids crave today, time with my parents.


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  5. And that's the reason why so many of the kids of today are so troubled, I believe, Janice. The family structure is in a very fragile state and so many kids have no one to learn discipline, respect and common decency from, it would seem.

    Values have all changed...or, disturbingly, in some cases are non-existent.

    We may not have had a lot, but, somehow we never missed out come birthdays, Christmas or any special events; we went to the movies a couple of times a week; we went to every circus and; we went on holidays - they may not have been to flash resorts etc., but they were holidays...and we learned to use our imagination...

  6. I am noticing the use of the metric system for the weights of ingredients (4 grams) and the english system for measures of volume (1 cup rather that 400 milliliters). It's a mixed system I guess. We here in US use metric (4.3 liters) for car-engine size and yet english (43 miles per gallon) for mileage.
    Eventually we will accept merged systems but try teaching that to the kids . . . ha
    I like the use of onion circles in the beef soup-- must try that.

  7. Hi goatman...Australia changed over to decimal currency in 1966. And then we started converting to the metric system in the early Seventies.

    I still fluctuate between the two systems...having been brought up with the Imperial system...some old habits are hard to break. That's where cup measurements and spoon measurements are great...and very clear! ;)

    The younger generations who've arrived on the scene since then....they are fine because really that's all they've's us of the older generations who find some of it confusing...well...speaking for myself, anyway! ;)

    Take care...thanks for popping in. :)

  8. I think you were rich.

    Don't flip over the edge just yet. :)

  9. G'day, Relax Max....Naaaaa...if I did, I'd only bounce right back why expend the energy, is my belief! ;)

  10. You've struck a nerve here with me. It's that greed to get what others have worked for instead of learning from parents how to survive and flourish in this world and to earn your own way. It is the very liberal idea of poverty for all that has just about brought us to the end of the story. Great writing.

  11. Yes...and I hate greed in every form, Cliff...unfortunately, there are some who can't see or move beyond it.

    Thanks, Cliff. :)

  12. You may be miles away but we are of the same heart. For awhile I thought I was reading something I had written or tried to write. Unfortunately we have several of those vultures waiting in the wings for Mimi's things. I have always thought it is better to have memories as that is the only thing you can really take with you when you bounce over the cliff. I too was very poor as I have indicated on my blog but very very rich in the ways that count. Peace my dear girl.

  13. It makes one wonder, Lady Di...about what goes on in the minds of some people. Who or what do they see when then look into a mirror? Are they proud of what they see?

    Their shallowness, probably, wouldn't allow them to think that deeply.

    Take care, Miss Kitty. :)

  14. G'Day Lee ~~ Great post about what real riches are the love and history - stories- of our forebears. Money cannot buy these riches. I am so very glad you got some rain after so long, so I hope you got enough. Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed my post as well.
    Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

  15. Hi Merle...good to see you as always. :

    Unfortunately, the rain didn't stick around for long. We need a few days of it...and then some more.

    Take care and thanks for dropping by. :)