Odds and ends from The A1 Cookery Book

One of the endearing things about old cookery books is the chapter at the end where everything which doesn’t foot elsewhere or was forgotten or for whatever reason missed out of previous chapters, is randomly included. Quite often recipes are squeezed among helpful household tips with no regard as to what came before or after an entry. Have a look at these examples from the 120 or so year old A1 Cookery Book, pages 156-159:

  • minced meat for invalids (another favourite of mine, invalid cooking!!)
  • orange salad
  • how to lard poultry or meat
  • lemonade
  • paste for sticking
  • pot pourri
  • Russian toffee
  • how to clean brass trays
  • how to clean silver
  • how to clean mirrors and windows
  • how to clean water-bottles
  • sloe gin
  • sloe gin – a simpler way
  • salad dressing
  • savoury custard for soups (this is an odd one, I’ve come across it before, custard and soup? Even savoury custard – and soup?)
  • Sutherland pudding

You see what I mean? It’s not even alphabetical? Even when there’s a few ‘how to clean’ items they’re not alphabetical. Neither of the two recipes for sloe gin seem exactly difficult,, and the simpler one doesn’t seem very much simpler – as it is jolly easy to make anyway!

Sloe gin

  • 3 quarts of sloes
  • 1 gallon gin
  • 3½ lbs sugar-candy dissolved in some gin over heat to make a syrup
  • 3 oz bitter almonds
  1. put everything into a 2 gallon jar and prick all the sloes
  2. shake well 2 or 3 times a week, keep well corked
  3. at the end of 2 months strain and bottle

Sloe gin (a simpler way)

  • sloes (presumably 3 quarts as above)
  • lump sugar
  • gin
  1. prick sloes and fill the bottle, leaving room for sugar
  2. add sugar inn the proportion of three quarters of a pound to a quart bottle of sloe gin
  3. pour over sufficient gin to quite fill the bottles
  4. cork very tightly and leave for a year
  5. pour off the liquor which is ready to use

Now do you think the second recipe is simpler? I don’t! At the end of the instructions it says “It should be a bright red colour”.  Well, supposing it isn’t? It’s a bit late after a year to do anything about it!



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