I wanted to post separately about the lime spiders that we drank on Christmas eve because they have a special meaning to me regarding tradition. We often talk about tradition as something that has been done since time immemorial. However, traditions come and go. One Christmas eve, lime spiders taught me the joy of creating our own traditions.
With seven children in my family, you will understand that Christmas is a busy time for my mother. She was always in charge of the cake, the pudding, the turkey, the presents, gift wrapping, herding us to mass, all while keeping an eye on seven children. (Meanwhile my dad was in charge of esoteric but important tasks like checking all the light globes on the Christmas tree lights and drilling holes in lifesaver lollies to make presents.) The older I get, the more I admire her for making this look so effortless.
Many years ago, though I am not sure exactly how many, we managed to convince my mother that we had lime spiders every Christmas eve. I am not sure why or how. My dad had given us a love of lime spiders, which he talked about as a special part of his past. For the uninitiated, they are a scoop of ice-cream in a glass of fizzy sweet lime drink. Even the name is fun. When you pour in the lime lemonade, it froths up. For a child this is magical and exciting. To convince my mum of a tradition gave us a sense of power that could only come at a time when she was too flustered to argue (or maybe she just wanted a lime spider as much as we did).
So now every Christmas I love to have lime spiders and mince tarts and to feel like so much is possible. I spent a Christmas in Dublin with my sister Chris one year and we spent quite a bit of time searching for lime lemonade. I think we ended up with coke spiders but plain lemonade and green cordial would do just as well.
You may have noticed on this blog, that I am not afraid to mess with tradition. Being vegetarian has meant that I have parted ways with many meaty traditions, but I have found ways to create new meaningful traditions without meat. Perhaps this is all because we convinced my mum to create a lime spider tradition many years ago.
So today I will share a quick dip I made on the weekend after hearing the Coodabeen Champions discussing a 1970s beauty contest cookbook on the radio. They mentioned a curried banana dip that took my fancy. But I was not so keen on adding dry biscuit crumbs. I was thinking about making guacamole with a half avocado I had in the fridge but I remembered this idea and decided to try it with avocado instead. I also omitted chutney, cayenne and mustard powder but added lemon juice. Here is the version I made to nibble with crackers.
Curried Banavocado Spread
½ an avocado, mashed
2 inches of banana, mashed
good shake of curry powder
juice of ¼ medium lemon
Mash with a fork and serve with crackers. It is strangely pleasing.
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Introspective Fragments, Part 1: Lebensessenz
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