January with the National Mark

A year ago I began writing about a wonderful little recipe booklet, published nearly eighty years ago:

I am enjoying reading the national Mark Calendar of Cooking, a booklet of over two hundred recipes published in the 1930’s promoting food  to improve the nation’s health and support the farmers and the agricultural communities. Considering it is eighty years old, the recipes seem quite modern and familiar in many ways, and the messages of healthy eating, standards of food and the production of food, and looking to local producers is very current.

However, there are little things which seem quaint and old-fashioned, and yet rather charming. The booklet takes the ‘perplexed housewife’ through the year offering recipes for the foods that are in season, as well as the preserved foods always available – in 1934 this was by bottling and canning, not freezing, and no such thing as ‘convenience’ foods or ‘ready-meals’!

Here is the introduction to January:

JANUARY is the month of New Resolutions! Another year lies ahead of the often perplexed housewife with its problems of purchase and of cooking, of meal building and seeking after variety. What shall we have today? How can I make it up to-morrow? These questions have to be answered, by most of us, three-hundred-and-sixty-five times a year. It does seem rather hard!

But with this new National Mark cookery calendar in her hand, she should be a good deal happier. By buying national mark goods, the anxiety which so often attends a careful purchase (and we all have to be careful nowadays) will be taken of her shoulders. For she will know that what she is buying is the best she can get. She will have no need to examine it; if it is in a tin, she will feel quite safe about the guaranteed contents. The recipes which have been collected here will help her too, and save her trouble in planning her meals. They may suggest others to her, and she can turn with confidence to each month and find there dishes suitable for the weather and her shopping list.

To buy National Mark goods should be certainly one of her New Year Resolutions, if not the first one. If persuasion is needed, then let the following pages convince her!


  1. mariathermann

    I’ve been looking through recipes published in Ministry of Food advice booklets published during WWI and WWII, now reissued by the Imperial War Museum. They are equally fascinating culinary reads. As you say, most the advice is actually really “up-to-date” health-wise and very sensible with regard to eating what’s in season, for it’s fresher, tastier and comes without the air miles these days. Some of the wartime recipes are, of course, rather peculiar because of rationing of eggs, meat and sugar for example, but there’s a lot more variety and culinary imagination there than I would have thought possible under the circs. Great stuff and good culinary advice for any perplexed 21st century housewife/husband also.

    Liked by 1 person

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