Home' Afloat : December 2013 Contents 74 AFLOAT.com.au December 2013
with Captain Chaos
1 cup of diced cooked turkey
10 sheets of filo pastry
3/4 cup of grated taste cheese
1 tablespoon each chopped chives and
Line a 23cm quiche dish with the filo
pastry, place the turkey and chives over
the pastry. Beat together the eggs, cream
and cheese and pour over mixture. Bake
180°C for 40 minutes. Can be served hot
When I was a child my sister and I
looked forward to the large gathering
at Christmas lunch which meant getting
dressed up and joining our mob of aunts
and uncles, plus all their children. But we
didn’t like not being allowed to take our
presents with us.
One year Santa Claus, or should I say
Dad, had left next to the fireplace a large
sailing boat with a tall mast. I tried to sneak
it into the back seat of his old Ford. The
mast wouldn’t fit, so I was sprung and had
to take it back but I did manage to pocket a
couple of small boats. Mother had a stack
of presents for the other children, which
she packed around us in the back seat
telling us to be careful and not to open
them. I don’t think mother ever noticed
the little tears that my sister and I made
in each wrapping so we could see what
the others were getting.
Our family owned a huge house in
Strathfield where the older relations
lived – as nursing homes were a thing of
the future. On arrival we were met by the
old aunties so it was huge hugs enveloped
by their lavender-scented bosoms. This
annual ordeal was over when you reached
the door and could make your escape into
the many rooms in the house.
Out the back, the men were smoking
and partaking in Christmas drinks while
the other children were playing in the
garden. My sister and I joined in. When
we got too hot we retreated to the kitchen
for cold drinks.
“Can we help? ” I asked as we invaded
the kitchen and got in the way of the
“Maude, find them something to do
before they get hurt,” one of the aunts
“If you children go into the dining room,
on the sideboard you will find four large
silver pepper cruets,” said Maude. “ Take
this spoon and the shakers into the pantry
and in there you will find a large container
with pepper in it, using the spoon fill the
shakers then put them on the table.”
In the pantry there was a bit of fighting
about whose turn it was and with all the
pepper being thrown around it’s a wonder
that no one got the sneezes.
We all got called to the table. The oldies
at one end and us kids way up the other.
There was a lot of carving and passing
around of dishes, everyone saying how
wonderful it all looked and they couldn’t
wait to get stuck in. With everyone served
and grace said they started helping
themselves to the condiments. Everything
was fine and the sound of contented people
eating filled the large dining room.
One of the old aunties had spat out
some food on to the white linen table
cloth. The whole room went silent save for
a few sniggers from our end of the table.
“ What happened? Are you all right? ”
an alarmed Aunty Maude asked.
“ There’s something wrong. I felt what
seemed like a crunchy piece of bone. I
think it might be in the pepper.”
The others around the table started
to study their plates of food more closely
and talk loudly. Maude picked up a crystal
glass and with a spoon tinkled for quiet.
There was silence and everyone turned
their heads to look at Maude in expectancy.
Suddenly a look of panic shrouded her
face as she glowered at our end of the table.
“Children when you filled the pepper
shakers did you fill them from the glass
jar or the pottery one? ”
We all looked up the table and said
“ The pottery one.”
Everyone turned to Maude for the
“Oh dear! The pottery one has Uncle
Norman’s ashes in it. We have all been
eating Uncle Norman.”
I have never seen people move so fast
holding their plates up near their faces
while making choking sounds. They all
raced out into the garden. None of us
children moved because of the frightening
sounds emerging from garden.
I think we children were the only ones
who finished our Christmas turkey.
We went home looking forward to the
next day when mother made a quiche from
the turkey leftovers.
Have a great Christmas and remember
to look back and think of family. h
There’s something nasty
in the pepper cruet
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