Why are books so difficult to resist? In my case, cookery books, particularly old cookery books, particularly those small booklets and pamphlets food producers and manufacturers used to publish. I found three, and at £1:50 each they were definitely a bargain.
The first is ‘Fruit and Health‘ and on the front cover it says ‘a popular treatise on the uses of fruit from a medical and practical standpoint. Containing informative articles, nearly 200 delightful recipes and many valuable fruit hints.’ It was written by Haydn Brown, and the recipes are edited by Sylvia Wayne – ‘triple diplomée, national training school of cookery, London. It was published by The Fruit Trades Association, probably in 1924. Part one on fruit and health has chapters on rickets, constipation – causes and cure, the secret of sound teeth, your digestion, the question of stimulant, when to eat fruit importance of vitamins, appendicitis, fruit and teeth, and nature’s gifts. As you can imagine, many of the comments and observations, suggestions and opinions are very dated, and many no longer what would be advised today; however, in general a lot of the principals are sound, and certainly today we’re advised to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day! The second part is recipes, and some of them may sound strange, but many sound really nice, and being very fond of salads i was interested that so many in this little book have both fruit and vegetables as ingredients. In the back, as in many books of this age, there are helpful household hints, mostly for removing stains!
The second of my bargain purchases is ‘Common Sense Eating for rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lumbago, neuritis, sciatica, neuralgia‘ by G R Lane, issued by The British Institute of Herbal Remedies, in Gloucester probably some time during the 1930’s. Again, it’s ideas and opinions may be dated but the essential message is still valid and promoted today, it’s all about ‘common sense eating. I don’t think many health books today would have several pages on ‘the charcoal water treatment’! It’s interesting to me because I know my grandma used to take charcoal tablets for her poor health in the 1940’s and 50’s, so my aunty told me. This book has some rather eccentric products promote as well as the charcoal water treatment, Sanotea, Charabs, Celabs (containing celery extract, I think) Lanerve, Dual-Lax and also dandelion coffee, which used to be available in health food shops – I must have a look for some next time I visit, not to buy but just to see if it is still sold. One very interesting product which is recommended is matté or maté – which my son drinks almost every day. It’s a ‘tea’ from South America, which has caffeine but also antioxidants so supposedly healthy – unless it’s drunk too hot in which case can cause nasty things to happen to your oesophagus.
.My third little book is just a plain but sweet little recipe book, first published in 1953, although my copy was published a year later, ‘Cakes, scones, biscuits and fancies for afternoon teas’ by Bridget Ames. Although the recipes are for what might be thought of as ‘fattening’ items, there is a health conscious message on the front page: these recipes, based scientifically on Food Reform, are planned to suit all tastes – but with special concern for the many who are becoming ‘health food conscious’. I think that’s amazing – nearly seventy years ago ordinary people cooking at home were conscious of their health and the food they were eating – it is amazing, but of course people have always wanted to be healthy.
I’m looking forward to going through these little books more carefully,, I think I’m going to have a lot of fun and find many things of interest!