Dear to the heart of the thrifty housewife

I confess, I have been buying books again – they are second hand, but they are cookery books of which I surely have more than enough. One was about regional recipes from Wales ad south-west England (why not one book for each?) one was a book of refrigerator cakes – I have friends coming tomorrow and thought this might make a nice change! The third book is ‘The “A1” Cookery Book’  by the anonymous H.N.L. It is a second edition and was printed by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Its subtitle is ‘ Everything essential for those who wish to have plain food daintily presented‘; that seems the absolute opposite of most food today, nothing seems to be plain, and dainty presentations only occur, it seems on baked goods! Apparently it is ‘written in the simplest possible manner to help the inexperienced.  Today such a book might be subtitled ‘cooking for idiots.! It sounds as if I am sneering at it, I most certainly am not; when it was written I am guessing that many young housewives could not afford help in the kitchen and would not have been taught how to cook either in school or at home. I actually think it – and others like it are wonderful!

There is a brief introduction on housekeeping – those essential skills for running a household; there are the usual sections; soup; fish; meat; poultry; vegetables; sauces; sweets; cakes; breakfast dishes, entrées and savouries; odds and ends. In the back pages are blanks for own recipes and full page adverts; these are for a self-basting roaster and baking pan from Orme, Evans & Co., Ltd., Woverhampton( 6/-, 7/-, 8/-, 10/6);Farola the perfect wheat food (dainty, nourishing); The Royal National Pensions Fund for Nurses and Cox’s – Gelatine, Elfin Jellies, Wanda Essences;

Inside the front cover are quotes – opinions from the press, including ‘the young wife will find in it fresh hope and inspiration for the future’,  and ‘ ought to be in the hands of all ladies commencing house-keeping.’

I look forward to much fun from this book, and some interesting recipes!



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