I clearly remember the many Friday nights my brothers and I would look despairingly at plates laden with slabs of overcooked meat, tinned peas and gluey rice while Granny admonished us to eat every last scrap.
I recall, in particular, one painful occasion when she produced an especially awful chicken dish and told us sternly that none of us could have dessert until we'd finished our mains. My brother Dani and I gamefully tried to plough our way through the meal only to suddenly notice that my older brother David - who was the fussiest eater of the three of us - had completely cleared his plate.
As Granny bustled off to get his promised dessert, I leaned over and asked him quietly how he had possibly managed to finish his food so easily.
"Oh, I didn't eat it," he whispered back "I put it all in my pocket!"
While Granny could toughen even the most tender steak - and destroy every possible nutrient left in vegetables - she surprisingly made absolutely wonderful soups.
This is extremely fortunate as I'd hate to think how my crafty brother would have disposed of an unwanted bowl of broth!
This fabulous Mushroom 'n Barley Soup is still a favorite at my dinner table today.
SAVE YOUR POCKET FOR SMALL CHANGE MUSHROOM & BARLEY SOUP
3/4 cup pearl barley
3 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced celery
8 additional cups stock
1: Bring 3 cups of stock to the boil, add barley and simmer for 25 minutes.
2: Meanwhile fry onion, carrot, mushroom and celery in a little oil till soft.
3: Add 8 cups of stock and boil for 25 minutes then blend till smooth.
4: Add cooked barley to the pot, simmer for a few minutes and then serve.
COOK'S NOTES: This soup won't win any awards for its beauty but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in wonderful, nutty flavor. Don't make your stock too strong or you run the risk of your soup being over-salty. Instead of vegetable stock, you could use mushroom stock which would compliment the flavor of the sliced mushrooms