So, to the third and final serving of my food memories from yore. Let's start by entering the butchers' shop.
The butchers had probably never heard of styrofoam trays and clingwrap but they sure could do good striped apron. And, like meaty cowboys, they carried their weapons in holsters at the hip.
Centre-stage on the sawdust-strewn floor was a huge slab from a tree trunk. On this the butcher would hack animal bits and produce delights such as skirt steak. If you smiled at him nicely, he gave you a free saveloy (children only) between butchering blows.
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Eating out appeared to gain ground in those days but early examples were pretty rudimentary.
One of the earliest visits I can remember was to a Chinese restaurant. The first thing put down in front of me was a side plate on which sat two pieces of ready-buttered sliced white bread. I can think of no explanation for this.
I have since widened my knowledge and understanding of Chinese food and now know that it can include eyeballs. Using chopsticks can be tricky here.
Also indelibly printed in the memory is my first smorgasbord. Kiwis seemed to embrace this Scandinavian, self-serve innovation with a determination to eat as much as possible (if not more) and, in more extreme cases, cause such feasts to run at a loss.
Kiwis were not going to have a bar of revisiting the buffet for different courses; onto their plate went a bit of everything so that hot ran into cold and coleslaw was anointed with tepid gravy.
At a "posh" buffet, there might have been Bluff oysters but, in these early days, nobody had thought of serving them on their shells. They were served as a grey amorphous mass but I won't use a simile or metaphor to describe the appearance as it is impossible to think of a tasteful one.
Thankfully, buffets are not so common these days.
The pie cart was another institution and the peak of its culinary skill was surely "pea, pie 'n' pud". For reasons lost to the mists of time, a meat pie was topped with mashed spud and mushy canned peas.
A bloke might go there after the six o'clock swill, another New Zealand phenomenon which is also beyond explaining. The bloke might go there to be sure of a feed because his wife had warned him of the consequences of coming home drunk from the swill.
I'd like to close with a railway refreshment memory. It's similar to the six o'clock swill in that it had a time constraint.
My memory comes from the "boat train", which used to link Invercargill to the ferry in Lyttelton. From memory, you had seven minutes (perhaps eight) to grab a cuppa and a bite at Ashburton, a town that was mostly dormant except for the daily seven minutes of frenzied refreshment activity.
I used to live dangerously. Rather than becoming embroiled in the melee, I ran to a shop over the road from the station. There I bought a cone ice cream. The brand was Snowdrop (it's "super cold") and was available in "plain or flavoured".
Key offerings in the station were tea served in military-grade thick china cups, pies, iced buns and sandwiches. I seem to remember sandwiches were kept fresh under damp muslin. Oddly enough, modern purveyors of sandwiches appear to have dropped this practice.
I'll leave you with words from Barry Lineham's song, Wellington Express:
Ten minutes for refreshments is the signal for the rush
As the famished hordes exterminate the feeble in the crush.
No battlefield is grimmer, where battered heroes die, than the bloody
Railway battle for a cuppa and a pie.
Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.