A extremely large and extremely heavy box arrived chez moi tonight.
It was delivered courtesy of the DIY Dad post and contains all my mum’s cooking books (plus a couple of my own childhood ones).
The cooking books are technically both mine and my sisters, however I have been granted sole custodianship while little blister is “abroad”.
When she gets back, I think we are going to have to thumb wrestle for some of these classics. And classics they are!
I suspect of these wonders even put the k into classic (klassic or classik, tomato or tomatoe), while others, I am sure, put two k’s into it.
These beauties have been lurking in a dark (and dusty) corner awaiting the moment when they can add their certain je ne sais quoi to my recipe collection. (Perhaps now I shall have to call it my recipe kollection?) I have spent part of my evening dusting down these glories, getting blasts from the past every time and shelving them.
They are like a time capsule of all that was best about 70’s-80’s cooking. I have pritikin diet books, early womens weekly books (when they were hardcover) and so much more.
I suspect some probably came out on the boat with her and my dad in ’73, so there is going to be a smattering of books that the proper English newlywed would have purchased to cook her Australian husband…including a monthly magazine on cordon bleu cooking – truly grand:
Some of the memories these bring back are priceless and purely personal; so I don’t expect you to be as excited as me at the news I have just got about 30 dusty books, cleaned them and put them on my bookshelves…
However some of these books are amusing in and of themselves. For example, I now possess (pending sisterly thumb wrestle) a copy of The Royal Blue and Gold Cook Book by the Marchioness of Cambridge (1974).
The original retail price was 2 pound 50 and it is, in its own words it is:
…not just another collection of recipes, but rather a gracious choice of dishes – all of which reflect the taste and traditions of our most worthy heritage
The recipes were all graciously supplied by all manner of pre-current day nobility and notables, with the introduction inducing all sorts of side-splitting and merriment inducing epigrams:
When I married and went to London, we entertained on a large scale, and I was lucky to have an excellent cook who enjoyed planning with me the menus for our dinner parties. On one occasion, the French Ambassador paid me the greatest compliment that the average dinner in England was excellent, though usually too lavish, but mine was perfect.
Did I just use the words “side-splitting”, “merriment” and “epigrams” in one sentence? By jove, I am even beginning to sound like the Marchioness!
As you can see, we do have so much in common:
Now that my cook is semi-retired, I quite enjoy doing much of my own cooking.
Apart from some relatively minor differences (titles, marriedness, exalted dinner party guests and her own cook), we’re almost sisters under the skin.
I really must host a dinner party based around this book – there is so much delectable fare to choose from:
- Fried Fresh Herrings with Mustard Sauce (Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth)
- Borscht a la Russe (The Berkeley Hotel, London)
- Filet de Sole Miss Grace Moore (Claridge’s, London)
- Southern Fried Chicken (Clark Gable)
- Terrine de Lapereau a la Picarde (A.C. Amelot, Chef to Her Majesty Queen Mary)
- Creme Brulee (Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth)
Yes, I may be exaggerating (a little) about it being delectable. Particularly given the selection on offer above includes:
- a dish made from herrings
- a dish which seems to be the soul of Miss Grace Moore (or her soles – very Silence of the Lambs), and
- something which may or may not be rabbit
Gentle reader, if you are invited to this dinner party; do not be distressed at the thought you may be made to eat something untoward.
There are other options in the book, I just chose these for effect. However one thing is certain, one of the recipes I cook will have been supplied by Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.