Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Our son Charles has always believed he can more or less do most anything he sets his mind to. He may need to ask a question or two, or watch someone else for a while. Then he will tackle it. He is a busy person, but he makes the time, often by working well into the night. He loves a challenge.
This week he has been turning his hand to making pies. Charles loves his sweets, and perhaps we do not make them often enough for him. So he has solved the problem by learning to cook them himself. And he has done a great job.
Sweet pies - such as lemon, passionfruit and coconut are a very traditional thing on Norfolk Island. No island function is complete without them. We believe the tradition began in the 19th century when Norfolk Island, and Pitcairn before that, was a port of call for whalers from America. Often, the whalers' wives would stay on the island while the men went off for the whaling season, and no doubt they and the island women were happy to share recipes and culinary expertise during these times. Sweet custard pies were also a tradition in America, particularly in the New England and Boston areas, from which many of the whalers came. Other traditions were also introduced by the whalers to the island, including the celebration of Thanksgiving. At one stage, Norfolk Island even had an American consul!
Anyway, we have all enjoyed sampling Charles' pies. He has tried passionfruit and coconut, and next Kim is going to see if he will make some lemon pie.
I might add that Charles has never been sexist about the skills he acquires. He learnt to crochet when he was about 8, and even made an Afghan rug (but I do not think he has done it since.) He also comes and uses my sewing machine when Kim needs an alteration done on her clothes. He does not think of it as female creative stuff. To him it is just a matter of learning a few techniques and using a bit of logic.
I should add that my other sons are reasonably good cooks, but Charles has really not entered the kitchen domain before. He has had women to cook for him and wait on him ever since he went to Boarding School at the age of 14! So we are looking forward to more of his culinary adventures!

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