The choosing and purchasing of the various stores

I’m just looking through Mrs A.B. Marshall’s Cookery Book, and I’ve come to the last section which is on marketing. Our way of shopping is so different in many ways, and yet some of the principles remain the same, looking for quality, looking for value and looking for what on offer is good – these days what is good probably relates more to price than whether it’s in season.

This is her advice for the housekeeper – and i guess the housekeeper is someone in a paid position, not the housewife herself:

One most important: part of a housekeeper’s duties is the marketing, in other words The choosing and purchasing of the various stores necessary for her household. To succeed in this she must have  a general idea at all events of what is good and what is bad in quality. In short, what to choose and, above all, what to avoid. Certainty on these points can only be acquired by practice, still the following hints may help her to buy her experience economically.

Mrs Marshall then goes through everything one might want to buy, beginning with fish – turbot, brill, dorey, salmon, cod, herring and sprats, mackerel, whiting, haddock, soles, plaice and flounder, smelts, mullet red and grey, eels, gurnet (gurnard), pike, carp and tench, lobster crab and shrimps. Some of these fish are popular choices today, some others such as gurnet are complete fishy strangers.

From fish she goes through beef, veal, mutton, lamb and pork, venison, poultry and game. Lastly are vegetables and she makes the observation that summer vegetables should be cooked as fresh as possible… and in this she includes lettuce. I know only recently charred lettuce has become fashionable, and there are recipes for lettuce soup (which I’ve made and is good) but cooking lettuce as a vegetable? I had a quick look at the index and found only a two recipes, one for soup and the other for lettuce á l’espagnole – which involves boiling it for a while and then cooking it again! There are recipes for salads which I will have a look at, but I rather think they won’t be like a salad we would eat today!



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