Yo Dad, it’s your birthday. Just in case you’ve forgotten (because old age does that), you’re sixty today. Jeez that’s not exactly spring-chicken material any more, is it? Not to matter, although you may be more akin to an older, scragglier rooster than a cute, fluffy chick you are wise. And wise is good. One day I hope to be as sagacious as you. To know that the best kind of birthday involves eschewing all forms of modern life and retreating to the wilds of Tassie for a five-night hike. To party it up with the drop-bears and slithery snakes rather than people. I mean, who want’s a nagging elder daughter telling you regularly that you are officially eligible for a seniors card? You know you love me, deep down there somewhere. But in all honesty, Happy Birthday. You’ve proven over the years that age really don’t mean a thang. That your bones may get a little older, a little creakier, the muscles a little tighter, but that doesn’t stop you, no way. You’ve also taught me how to make a bangin’ batch of ‘Bushwalker Biscuits’. One of the many important things in life.
Do you remember baking these throughout primary school, and into high-school for morning tea snacks? The time where we decided to christen the new oven in the cottage with them and it was one puddly-disaster? But we ate them anyway. Of course. From you we learned that waste was bad. Mr Big Bad Wolf bad. <Here’s where we insert some ‘proper’ food-related comments: Light, verging on crumbly, these bikkies are the perfect pick-me up not only during long hikes, as the name suggests, but at any time really. Coconut is the stand-out flavour, made tropical with the addition of sweet dates and teeny cubes of dried pawpaw. Damn that pawpaw is good. You’ve really gotta squish the mixture together well when rolling into balls. We weren’t kidding when we said they were delicate. But nutritious too! > Heaven forbid you let us toddle off to school with pre-packaged muesli bars filled with nasty sugars and preservatives. I’ll return the favour one day. When it finally reaches the point at which you require food to be prepared for you (we’re talking waaaaaayyyyy into the future, never fear) I’ll ensure that it never comes from a microwaved packaged. It’ll be prepared by moi. Because there isn’t a greater display of love and appreciation than cooking food for another.
Next week, when you’ve returned from your wild-man expedition, we’ll toast to birthdays, and wisdom, and sprightliness, and food together. It’ll have been nigh on a year since our last meeting…well and truly time to celebrate. And for that I promise you two things – a certain someone won’t bring up the fact that you’re now a ‘senior’ (bahahaha) and they’ll also do their darndest to not think twice about the calorie content of what we’ll be consuming. Because after all wise man knows best, and a certain someone would do well to finally take heed.
Makes 12 biscuits
¼ cup margarine
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 egg white
1 tsp water
½ tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp bicarb
1/8 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ginger
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup special K, crushed
¼ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp chopped almonds
¼ cup dates, chopped
2 tbsp dried pawpaw
Preheat the oven to 190C. Grease and line two baking trays. Beat together margarine and sugar until creamy. Whisk the egg, water and vanilla together in a separate bowl and then add to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat until smooth.
In a large bowl mix together the bicarb, baking powder, salt, ginger, quick oats, Special K and coconut. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Now stir through the almonds, dates and pawpaw.
Drop teaspoonfuls onto baking trays and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Set pan on a wire rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan and leaving to cool completely.
Source: Dad’s holy recipe folder.