I have just discovered that my little Spry cookery book – which I bought for £1 in a charity shop and cost 1 shilling when it was first published, is actually eight-two years old! It was published in 1936! I can hardly believe it! The recipes are very practical, clearly written, and although there are some we would not expect our families to eat today – stewed trip and onions for example, or kidney soup, there are plenty of others, especially the puddings, cakes and biscuits which do appeal.
SPRY was a cooking fat made from vegetable oil and the introduction to the little book explains it like this:
SPRY is a snow-white vegetable fat, made entirely from pure vegetable oil. It is tasteless odourless, and perfectly digestible. But the special point of SPRY is that it has been ‘ready-creamed’. This gives it a velvet texture, absolutely new in cooking fats, and this smoothness gives you easier working and also better results in every kind of cooking. And because SPRY has no flavour of its own, it improves the flavour of every ingredient used in cooking, just as cream brings out the flavour of fruit. There’s another special point you’ll like about SPRY, too. It will keep absolutely fresh for months on end, under ordinary kitchen conditions.
The last ‘special point’ would have been very important to ‘housewives’ at the time – in the 1930’s few people had fridges!
I’m not sure my children would like this, but I think my husband would, and I have a feeling I might have eaten something like this when i was a child – maybe at my grandma’s house… cheap, comforting, tasty:
- ½ pint warm milk
- 3 oz breadcrumbs
- 2 oz grated cheese
- a little mustard
- salt and pepper
- 1 oz melted SPRY
- 1 egg
- brush a pie dish with melted SPRY
- mix the cheese and breadcrumbs
- pour over the milk and melted SPRY
- season with salt, pepper and mustard
- stir in egg
- bake in a hot oven for 30 mins
Here is a link to an article I wrote about the history of SPRY: