Aldy learnt to cook as a toddler. She was fascinated by it. Guess it was because her mother also a school teacher by trade enjoyed teaching all of her 4 girls the domestic arts, but Aldy was the one who spent her weekends in the kitchen. The tale goes that when she was 7 her mother was in hospital birthing her little sister, each day she cooked a cake for morning tea on her own. At that time the family had an old style wood stove, so there was a degree of finesses required to get the temperature right and skill needed to know when to put the cake into and out of the oven as there was no temperature dial.
Over her childhood years Aldy and her sisters won many prizes for their cooking of cakes and jams and hemming of tea towels. So there are now highly skilled women who do a wide range of craft skills from tatting and quilting to beautifully iced cakes
There is an exercise book, now 54 years old, in Secrets kitchen. Aldy filled it with recipes while at Home Economics Teachers College in Brisbane. It is still the same with polka dot plastic cover full of recipes all painstakingly written using old fashioned running writing. This was when there were no photocopiers and it was even before the purple ink copiers where the copy was made by hand typing a special copy paper with purple ink similar to carbon paper.
Hidden away in this special book are the magical basic recipes and more, on which all the different modern recipes are based. Secrets have had a number of experts who believe they have the definitive sweet pastry recipe but ultimately the one in Aldy’s bible is the best
We have tried all sorts of standard pie plates, flan shaped tarts and methods so the kitchen staff can cut the perfect piece of Apple Pie all with mixed success. Strangely, even cutting a pie is an art in itself. More recently we have tried making individual Apple Berry Pies with exactly the same ingredients but slightly less pastry. These are amazing with delicious taste and glazed lattice tops but not the traditional wedge of pie, so even that doesn’t seem to satisfy.
We will keep trying as our standard is homemade just like Mother used to make.