Wednesday, April 22

Tribute and Tradition - Anzac Biscuits

I love Anzac Biscuits. They make me feel patriotic, Australian, and gluttonous because you can never stop at just one. As a child I used to make them with my Mum and as I became old enough, I made them for my family as a teen and now with my own family.
Anzac Day (25th April) is bittersweet for me. For my Grandad he loved Anzac Day - he would organise the reunion for his war-mates though he didn't march in the years that I knew him and always said when others offered to march for him he said 'no-one will march for me until I'm dead'. When he did pass away just shortly before Anzac Day 18 years ago, I marched for him for the first time just two days after his funeral and I cried the entire way. I felt proud, I felt close to him, but I missed him so much.

I've march for him every year since, bar 3 - once I was overseas, once my twins were both in hospital and last year the RSL discouraged relatives from marching for their families (that really hurt!). I still have those feelings of pride, connection and still grief and sorrow. Above all I feel it's an annual tribute to his life and what he and many others did for the freedom and safety of our country.

I have in all the years I have marched formed bonds with his war-buddies - the 67th Searchlight Battery (Army) whose job it was in the war to light huge drums with mirrors to light the sky and enemy targets for the airforce. (pictured right) The blokes all tell tales about their times, we look through photo albums and there's more often than not a story about my larrikin Grandad (Bluey). The scams he used to run, the practical jokes he used to lighten the mood with. He was the guy that could lift the spirits of anyone they said.

Ironic, his spirit lives on with these blokes and they cheer me up endlessly and I love them for it. Sadly, every year as they grow older, their health deteriorates and we have less marching every year. I sometimes don't even want to know why. It breaks my heart.

My grandad didn't change over time. He was and always will be a larrikin, I knew him that way too. Always quick with a witty remark, a wink and nudge. He made me feel like the most special girl in the world.

I will be marching this year, last year was just awful not going. I think I'm going to take Eloise with me.
Anyhoo, the Anzac Biscuits.

These were made to send to the blokes in the war I'm told because they had less chance of spoiling. They also had ingredients readily available during ration time too. The absence of eggs from the recipe is no co-incidence - apparently there was a shortage of eggs in the war due the poultry farmers joining the war effort. If you're not in Australia, and don't have access to Golden Syrup, you can use treacle, they still taste great but you simply MUST try and get hold of some. I'm sure someone imports it where-ever you are.
1 cup plain flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1.5 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
3tsp hot water
125 gr butter or margarine
1 tb golden syrup.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees c or 375 F
Mix all dry ingredients together - except the bicarb soda.
Dissolve bicarb in hot water, sit aside
Melt the butter/margarine with the golden syrup. When melted, add the dissolved bicarb/water into the saucepan, and take off the heat as it will foam up. Pour int a well in the dry ingredients and combine.
Mixture should roll into balls - if too dry add water, if too wet, add flour.
Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. When you take them out of the oven. let them cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring them onto cooling trays, this will help maintain their shape.

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5 lovely comments:

Jaime on April 22, 2009 at 2:34 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I love your story Liss (and Anzac biscuits). I always find Anzac Day to be incredibly emotional as well, even though no one in my family went to war.
I'll be thinking of you marching on Saturday. What a wonderful way for you to be close to your Grandad.

Anzac Biscuit on April 23, 2009 at 3:17 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Liss, what a touching story. Your pride in your family and heritage are inspiring.

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I have tears in my eyes reading your post as my connection to ANZAC day is quite similar to yours. Both of my Granddads served in the 2nd world war and my father's Dad Neil in particular lived for ANZAC day the every other day he was always telling stories of the war. I find today so emotional, I can't help but think of him all day and how much I miss him (them) Lest we forget.....


Josiejo said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Tears here. Your grandad sounds wonderful. I am so glad you got know him - I wasn't so lucky and never met one of mine and was only 8 or so when my second grandfather died. Treasure your memories. I hope you can march with pride once again.
Off to make a batch of bikkies. xx

Oscar's Mum on April 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.


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