I am a bit weird in that I enjoy reading cookbooks, as if they were novels. There's nothing I like better than to curl up with a cookbook or two and read through the recipes. The other night, I re-read some of my mother's cookbooks and I was transported to Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s!
cookbooks are actually 4 booklets featuring about 100 recipes, each.
"Book of Poultry", printed in 1958; "Cooking for Two", printed in 1959;
"Good Fare", printed in 1962; and "Cold Cookery" that is undated, but
most probably printed before 1962, judging from the price. The 1962
booklet was priced 2 shillings and 6 pence; the other 3 booklets all
were priced 2 shillings each; so I got to play detective, as well as
I can picture my mother as a young wife,
buying these cookbooks, looking through the recipes, and perhaps trying
a few of them. She gave me these booklets when I first became
interested in cooking, in my teens, and I've made a few of the recipes.
But mostly, I like to read through them. Just reading them is a treat!
Trifles and fruit cakes! Buttered eggs and crumpets! Sponge cakes and
cheese straws! The recipes call for butter and cream and lard. Nothing
low fat or low calorie about these recipes.
of the dishes are not for the faint of heart - pigeon pie, for example,
the directions for which start with "Clean and prepare the pigeon,
removing the head, neck and feet" and end with "The pigeon's feet may be
stuck through the hole in the pastry for decoration."!!! Nowhere in
the recipe does it mention if the feet should first be cooked or not. Nor am I quite sure if I'd consider a bird's feet sticking up through the pie pastry to be "decoration"! LOL.
of the recipes give specific quantities of ingredients, but a few leave
it up to the cook. Irish Potato Cakes, for example, state, "bake or
boil some potatoes in their skins, remove the inside and beat with a
little milk, plenty of salt and a little beaten egg, if liked" before
being cut into rounds or triangles and baked "on a hot griddle or in a
hot oven" (no temp. given for a hot oven) until brown; serve warm, they
urge, "with plenty of butter." My kind of cooking! LOL.
gone through and culled my cookbook collection considerably, but I'll continue to hold on to these 50+ year old cookbooks.
Together, the 4 booklets take up less than 1 inch of space on the shelf,
but they have a certain power to transport me to a special time and
In addition to the above booklets, I also have a handwritten blue cardboard bound school notes book (used to be called a Monitor's Exercise Book) of recipes Mother had copied down from various sources. Written in faded blue ink on yellowed pages, it is something else of my mother's that I treasure.
Does anyone else have old family cookbooks?