This is our youth

Single stems of gerberas. Band tours. Euacalyptus drops. Cinnamon toast in the senior study. Blackwatch tartan. Debating prep. Sneaky bottles of Four Sisters Sauvignon Blanc (gosh knows why). Hoping you inherited Nicole Kidman’s old english book. Movies brimming with lead characters from Dawson’s Creek, about bets being made on love. Macy Gray and a touch of angst.

If ever I need help embellishing the memories of high school, I’ve got plenty of help that delves beyond those key phrases.

Eight of my best girls have been with me since we were 12- and most have memories like elephants.

We’ve already had our ten year reunion. It involved way too much white wine/whine and the satisfaction of knowing that we all turned out pretty normal. Yet a couple of weeks ago something struck that made us want to relive the heady days of 1999- when we busted about dressed like this.

A sick perversion? A thinly veiled excuse to watch films featuring Freddie Prinze Junior?

A creative distraction for the one among us who’s still studying? (General physician exams. How is it fair that the sharpest of all is still having to work that hard?)

Or a deep seated need to remind ourselves that there’s a reason we no longer eat like this:

Camembert and strawberries

Every picnic at the park. Every effort to be more grown up than we were usually involved a lonely cheese plate of stilted camembert, accessorised with slightly bruised strawberries. And maybe some water crackers.

Semi dried tomato. Eggplant dips. Turkish bread.

Back in the days when Turkish bread was all the rage I would take a full pack for breakfast and lunch, with five green apples for snacking. Yes they were long days, but it wasn’t exactly the height of nutrition or interest. This was before I realised it had a GI higher than fruit toast. And before I realised that it was a pretty miserable way to subsist.

Nothing says 1999 to me more than toasted white fluffy rectangles, slightly charred on the edge, with a side of semi dried tomatoes and some ‘exotic’ deli ingredients like fetta, and eggplant dip.

Except maybe;

Caesar Salad

‘C U L8er? Meeting a friend at Blackbird cafe’.

These were the kind of text messages we sent on the Nokia bricks that we’d borrowed because we were driving across the bridge. And when we got to Blackbird cafe, it was usually Caesar salad and wedges, with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce.

And I wonder why I looked like a mini bus in the graduation photo.

So we take cubes of white bread, and gently fry.

And we add those to shaved parmesan.Then fried bacon and some coddled eggs with runny yolks. A few flimsy leaves of Cos lettuce.

It’s got more in common with a full breakfast than a salad, but somehow we convinced ourselves we were being healthy when we ate it.

The same can’t really be said for the below.

Potato wedges and sour cream with sweet chilli sauce

Who knew that you could buy these frozen in the super market and they’d taste exactly the same as they did at 2 am at Maisy’s cafe?

Add to that some Cajun chicken strips and you’ve got a meal that screams of the eve of the millennium. Now I’ve just got to start worrying what’s going to happen to my PC on New Years Eve.

Pull-apart bread

There was a Bakers Delight three blocks from school. Enough said.

Chocolate mud with berry coulis

Even back then baking was soothing. And everything tasted better with berry coulis.

In the ten years that’s passed, lots of things have changed. There have been weddings and funerals. Cars, trips, flat mates and falls. Houses, jobs, men and boys have all come and go. A couple of our clan missed out on the nostalgia fiesta- overseas; we pretend they’re out collecting milk.

But some things haven’t.

Freddy Prinze Junior could never really act.

Sometimes a well made Caesar salad can be a cracker. And like my girls, berry coulis just makes everything that little bit sweeter.

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