Sunday, 28 February 2010

Thinking for ourselves

Remember when convenience foods came with a Serving Suggestion? Often a little alarming; for years, Ryvita packaging carried the confident statement "Delicious crumbled in milk". Oh yes? Wet Ryvita....hmmmm.... let me think.... no thank you.


I like this suggestion though. Leaves room for the imagination, for creative flair, for surprising your family or guests with quirky dishes. "Pour over " -  what?  One's hands, massaging it in well? Scones and jam? Cat food? (Oh yes please! comes the furry-faced chorus.)

The necessities of Army life abroad gave my mother a liking for evaporated milk in tea; we preferred it poured over jelly (always red) and, even today, on porridge. But my imagination struggles from this point, and the recipes here don't appeal much either.

I have several tins of the stuff in my cupboard, bought in an irrational fit of "Must prepare for Armageddon" angst - it's about the only consciously-absorbed value I retain from the Thatcher years, the need for a well-stocked pantry.

Not that well-stocked is the same thing as well-organised or tidy, of course; somewhere in its heaped chaos there is sure to be something that would benefit from having evaporated milk poured over, thus transforming it into that promised delicious creamy treat.

Ideas and anecdotes welcome; no Ryvita though.

16 comments:

Fran Hill @ Being Miss said...

My foster mum used to make a milk jelly by whisking the jelly and evaporated milk together. It's one of my all-time favourite childhood puddings.

rachel said...

Oh yes, I'd forgotten we had that too, sometimes layering it in glasses (sometimes tilted to set sideways) - a teen thing, I remember.

And along with that memory comes one of tinned cream - thick, thick, strange cream....

Shelagh said...

On the side of Ritz cracker boxes here there used to be a recipe for Mock Apple Pie in which the filling's main ingredient was crumbled Ritz crackers. (Sorry I can't think of a British equivalent. They're round and sweeter than water biscuits) I always wanted my Mum to make it but she never did. Understandably. Not an apple in sight. "Mock" was an understatement.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Oh Lord , I remember the fluffy jelly thing too . And a cousin introducing me to her gourmet treat ( we were very small ) .... a sliced banana covered in evaporated milk .....and my further excursions into Carnation Gourmet Experiences ...cornflakes covered in evap .
My excuse is that I was born in 1947 . Almost anything could be ... and was .... regarded as a treat , including tinned pears . Now they're nasty !

Friko said...

Beloved uses it on tinned fruit, just "like his Mum did in the olden days".
In Germany it is used in strong coffee, rather than thin milk or cream.

Preseli Mags said...

Ah now, evaporated milk. I remember it poured over tinned mandarin oranges so the milk would start to curdle. Sounds awful now, but I remember quite liking it. I agree with Fran Hill, though, the evap/jelly mousse combo was the best.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Have you tried using Evap to make a rice pudding? Fab-u-lous! (make the 15 fl oz can up to 20fl oz with water = 1 pint). It also makes delicious custard, using Birds custard powder.

Kitty said...

Carnation milk jelly - good stuff, or poured over jelly - good too. We go through loads in our house, a favourite poured over crumbles, pies, chopped bananas.

My granny used to take it in tea, can't think of anything worse, but each to their own.

I saw a great 'serving suggestion' yesterday, on a packet of chocolate eclairs (the choux ones, not toffees). It showed an eclair, with what looked like a bite taken off the end. I studied it, then proceeded to take the suggestion very seriously indeed. It was worth the study.

Isabelle said...

Now, that rice pudding idea is a good one. Now that we don't have full cream milk, I can't make rice pud. But evap milk.. mm.

herhimnbryn said...

Ah, my Mum used to make Gypsy tart with evap milk. I think it was evap with soft brown sugar, whipped to a froth, poured onto a pastry case and baked. We loved it as children. I like the idea of it now, but can feel my teeth rotting, just writing about it!

Rattling On said...

I remember the tinned cream. We had to shake the tin for ages so it would be good and thick when it was opened.
What about condensed milk as well? My Mother used to have sandwiches made from it (!), and more unusually I remember her using it to stick on tiles in the bathroom.
Sadly my only dealings with it are less creative...fudge.

Val said...

With tinned fruit at Grannies house always with obligatory bread and butter...

We used to have the blue striped cans of Nestles I think...it was a great treat..and Mum used it to make icecream once if I remember right

Over jelly ...or on crumble..yummy

(Now do I confess to evap milk on Frosties...lol and Rice pudding made with it mmmmmmm)

mountainear said...

Carnation was cream in our house. It was only much later that I realised cream actually existed in its own right. So it was Carnation on almost everything - always remembering to pierce the can twice before pouring.

There seemed to be a lot of substitutes for the real thing when I was a child; 'mock' cream, poor man's moussaka (a melange of potatoes in the place of aubergines) and all that squishy tinned fruit.

love those cupcakes said...

Do you remember Fussell's condensed milk (thicker consistency, I think)with the little butterfly on the wrapper? My dad sold it in his shop and families round about used to spread it on bread with a sprinkling of sugar on top. My gran refused to serve it that way and told us kids that if we ate it we'd get worms! So you might not want to risk that with your evaporated milk stash.

Marcheline said...

My aunt soaks chicken pieces in evaporated milk overnight before using them to make fried chicken. Supposedly it makes the meat incredibly tender and sweet.

Lucille said...

I loved the frothy jelly made from evap and years ago had a yogurt maker which called for dilute evap in the mix.

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