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Christmas Dinner at the Fordham's 1919

I recall with vivid memories our Christmas dinners - especially this one in 1919 under the macrocarpa trees in Fordham Street (then known as Manuka Road).

My father's only relatives in New Zealand always joined us - they lived in Devonport - owned a large drapery business at Fordham's Corner Devonport. They travelled to our place on Christmas morning by horse drawn cab - owned by a Mr. Marshall and hired for the day. We were all dressed in our Sunday best. A trestle table had been erected - benches made from two kerosene boxes and a plank - starched white linen cloth and serviettes - the best silver and of course my Father at the head of the table carving.

Our menu was - two large hens especially fattened for the occasion - killed by my father - scalded in a large oval tin tub - plucked - cleaned - stuffed and cooked to perfection in a coal range - luscious green peas and new potatoes from the garden. Dessert was always made by my father's sister - a large very rich (even heavy) plum pudding - boiled in a cloth in the copper for hours - duly hung for weeks in our "wash house" to mature. Christmas day the cloth was removed and it was decorated with holly and blanched almonds - served with jugs of fresh cream provided by our two house cows. Paper wrapped sweets (McIntoshes from memory) muscatels and dried figs followed this.

Presents were very modest and few, but greatly appreciated and valued - so much so that I still have the doll I received that day - the only one I ever had!

Nita Parke (née Fordham), 1995


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