In the 1970s, for a nine-year-old in Ireland, a Tea Time Express cake was a treat beyond imagining, a whole packet of Tayto to yourself was a rarity and ham and cabbage was a much-loved family favourite.
In Six at the Table, Sheila Maher tells the story of her childhood through meals shared around the kitchen table – and occasionally from the boot of the car on long family trips – and celebrates the central role that the food lovingly prepared by her mother played in her young years.
Exotic Lilt and exploding Moondust have their thrills, but it is her mother’s
Sunday roasts, steak and kidney pies and home-made Jaffa cakes that create the regular and comforting rhythm of Sheila’s life and of the rest of her boisterous family. Though, worryingly, her dad has suddenly lost his appetite …
From sliced egg, beetroot and cold ham salad on summer days to the milk puddings that mark the passage of the winter weeks, Six at the Table is a nostalgic journey through an Irish childhood in the 1970s, when uniforms were itchy, porridge stuck to your ribs and Cidona felt like the height of sophistication.