What shall we cook today? It seems that for most of us, a bit of our book obsession would carry over to the cookbook genre, so this week for Weekly Geeks, let’s talk cookbooks!
I’ve been collecting cookbooks for many years now. I have all sorts – Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, French, Vegetarian, Diet, Low Fat, Freezer, and Microwave cookbooks to name but a few. These days I try to be selective and only buy books that look as though there are some new recipes that I haven’t tried.
I’m only going to write about three books in this post and these are the cookery books that were my mother’s. She loved cooking and was a very good cook. Compared to me she had so few books! There is her Recipe Index – inside she wrote the date she bought it – March 25 1938, containing some of her handwritten recipes mainly for cakes and biscuits. It’s divided into sections such as Soups, Fish, Meat Game and Poultry etc. There’s one section called “Entrees” which she has crossed out and renamed it Jams. I can’t imagine we ever knew what entrees were! Some of the recipes are wartime ones as they include dried egg. The book is now looking well-worn and is a bit fragile.
Then there is The Radiation Cookery Book – such a scary title, which actually is a recipe book for use with the Radiation “New World” Regulo-Controlled Gas Cookers – my mum had one – very modern in 1938. Just opening it at random I find recipes for such things as Rabbit Broth, Hodge-Podge (made with shin of beef or scrag end of the neck of mutton), Bath Buns, Stewed Eel (in the Invalid Cookery section), Linseed Tea – none of which we ever ate. My father loved food such as Roll Mop Herrings, Tripe and Onions and Pigs Trotters – my sister and I hated them. Then there are the old favourites – Parkin, Treacle Tart, Queen of Puddings, Apple Charlotte and Bread and Butter Pudding.
Finally there is my favourite – The Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium, which she bought in 1956. I used to love looking through this as a child. It has nearly 2000 wonderful photos and 1500 recipes with step-by-step pictures. It covers everything – how to boil an egg, buying and choosing meat, making hors d’oeuvre, how to make pickles, preserves and chutneys and the most comprehensive section on cake-making with full instructions on making and decorating the most elaborate wedding cakes.