Growing up in the beach side suburb of Bondi, we had a wonderful sense of freedom to play and explore the many surrounding beaches and parks.
As with all beach side suburbs, it attracted a certain percentage of transient people and being just 7kms from Sydney’s CBD, it also hosted many seasonal tourists.
We had an Italian family living next door who would share their amazing Italian dishes with us, we in turn shared our traditional baked leg of lamb and rather bland, in comparison, English cooked vegetables. Let’s not forget the incredible Italian desserts. Our mum absolutely loved their home-made liqueurs.
While in primary school, my girlfriend’s family owned the local Chinese restaurant. We would run into the kitchen after school and her mother would cook up a huge plate of prawn cutlets and spring rolls for us to eat as we played.
The local fruit shop was owned by another Italian family who lived on the premises. Often the wife would have just cooked dinner or lunch and would hand over a plate of more delicious Italian food.
The local delicatessen was run by a middle European couple, ahhhh the delights we sampled. In high school, my Polish girlfriend’s mother expanded my taste buds to more gastronomic delights.
My mum’s sweet tooth set my cake standards to a high level as we often visited two incredible cake shops on Bondi Road. Nothman’s Cake Shop was filled with those heavy European cakes made with real butter, I was to become a cream bun and jam doughnut expert! Then to the light delights of the Paris Cake Shop where I saw my first croquembouche. It was fairy tale stuff, I dreamed of the day to break one of these on my wedding day, my dress was not important, but my cake would be!
Bondi has a high Jewish population, when I was a very young child I remembered asking two ladies why they had tattoos of numbers on their arms. Looking back, this must have been difficult for them to tell me of their prior life in the concentration camps of which I knew nothing about. However, they were really sweet and explained it simply for my child mind, it ignited my curiosity and it expanded my world and thinking.
Growing up in Bondi was a wonderful cultural experience for any child, it made my life richer in many ways.
A wonderful gift for a mother, friends or yourself.
‘My intention was to give a heartfelt give to my mother, it turned out to be the greatest gift I gave to myself.’
*Please be aware, this is a picture book, not all background images and fonts appear on E-Book or Kindle version. The translation and visual will be a little lost, however the essence of the words will be there.