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U3A Writing: The Years Of The Green Pudding

“It all began when Mum got seized with the desire to go All Irish…’’

In this tasty article Shirley Long describes how her Mum, having “discovered’’ an Irish grandfather, decided that even food had to be green. (Come to think of it, perhaps tasty is not the right word in these circumstances).

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It all began when Mum got seized with the desire to go All Irish.

She had been sorting through some family papers and found one relating to her Irish grandfather. He had qualified as a doctor at Dublin University, and then came out to Australia to take up a practice in small Gippsland town.
Mum became fascinated by his background, and she joined up with a genealogical society, and before we knew where we were, Mum was going All Green. Her Australian accent slipped several thousand miles and developed a decidedly Irish sound; Begorrah was often heard. She went in for green colouring in her clothes as much as possible - the colour didn't really suit her, but she was past reasoning with by now.
The climax came when she decided we should Eat Green. Dad hadn't said much about things up to this point - he was a great one for a quiet life, and as long as his food came hot, plentiful and filling, he let Mum have her head. But when Mum served him up green food, he went red - with rage. Green peas, beans, sprouts, cabbage etc. were all right - the Almighty meant them to be green anyhow - but when Mum gave him green bread, green potatoes, and, worst of all, green meat, he sprang up from the table with a mighty roar and threw things.
We kids skedaddled out the back and left Mum and Dad to sort things out themselves.
They compromised - the food for our table was to remain as Dad wanted it to be - NOT GREEN, but Mum's culinary abilities and her love for the Irish could be satisfied by developing her Green Puddings. These were similar to Christmas puddings, but not as rich. Mum dowsed the ingredients with green colouring, so that they looked really disgusting to our childish eyes, and then she would take the cooked and finished concoction and give it to some poor soul, who may have been deserving of this world's goods, but didn't deserve to be lumbered with Mum's fearsome-looking green pud.
She always cut a small portion off and insisted that the recipient should eat it. "Just try this little bit dear," she would say. "You'll be surprised at how good it tastes,” and the hapless one would choke down the green morsel, as he or she became progressively paler.
Mum's green puddings continued as a feature of our lives and those of Mum's victims for several years until she suddenly lost her interest in all things green and took up stamp collecting, which we felt was much better.


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