Anecdotes about Nan and Granddad Driscoll.
Nan's "Roast" potatoes.
Sunday dinners were something of a production in the late '40s and early '50s, with Nan's version of roast potatoes being very much a thing of wonder among the Irish labourer population at No. 17 Jeffreys. The process was launched with a couple of centimetres of water being poured into the bottom of a roasting pan, followed by the peeled and halved potatoes. Then a few dollops of lard were smeared on top of a few selected spuds, and the whole shebang shoved into the top of the hot oven. After a suitable delay for cooking, the pan was ceremonially removed, to reveal a pan of spuds, sort of roasted on top (burned black), but perfectly boiled (pasty white) beneath the water line. Any hint of complaint would result in the litany, "It was good enough for us all through the war, so it's good enough for you now!!"
The Rice Pudding.
This occurred in a period when cousin Peter (Reed) and myself (Bert) were both working in the local area and lunching, along with Granddad, at No. 17. We had finished lunch when Nan announced that there would be rice pudding for afters. When the pudding was dished up, all looked great, until the first taste. It tasted absolutely horrible, but Peter and Granddad were tucking it away like there was no tomorrow. When I announced that it tasted so horrible that I couldn't eat it, the stony silence could be cut with a knife. I went off back to work with the proverbial flea in my ear, being berated with, "it must be all right 'cause Peter and Granddad had eaten it all!". When I got home from work that evening, Nan seemed very subdued. She eventually came up with the following explanation/apology. She had been cleaning some saucepans while making the rice pudding, and had mistaken the saucepan filled with water with a handful of washing powder in it, for the one filled with the diluted milk. How the hell Peter and Granddad ate the stuff I will never know.
There was a very similar episode about 6 months after the above event. This involved bread pudding and custard as the desert. This time, while mixing the bread pudding, Nan had tipped a full tub of pepper into the mixture instead of a tub of mixed spice. The result was very similar in that I got berated for not eating what Peter and Granddad consumed with gusto, and the same demure apology on arriving home from work that evening.