To make common vegetables more inviting

I’m looking at the 1934/5 cookery book from Brown and Poulson, a company which goes back to 1840 and specialised in cornflour. I find it sweetly amusing the way this old book is written, but no doubt at the time its language just seemed normal, clear and easy to understand, so…

To make common vegetables more inviting…

… always serve them with a good Corn Flour sauce. Try such a sauce with the commonest of vegetables – turnips, carrots, onions, leeks, parsnips, beetroot, etc. – and you will be surprised how much they are improved by it.
With the addition of a good sauce the monotony of the so-called plain vegetables is relieved. In this way even the despised cabbage may be made appealing.
Again, almost every kind of vegetable can be varied by being covered by a well-made white sauce, sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese, and coloured a delicate brown before the fire or in the oven; while others when once cooked may be finished in a good brown gravy or brown sauce.
In the following pages are some simple recipes for savoury vegetable sauces. They are composed of simple ingredients at hand in most houses or easily purchased. You can prepare most of these sauces in a very short time, and at little trouble and expense. The directions are clear and full, so that even novices can follow them.

The first sauce mentioned is white sauce, and thinking back to my childhood it did make a regular appearance on our plates with broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, asparagus, broad beans and butter beans, fish, gammon and probably more that I’ve forgotten. Using that basic recipe there follows parsley sauce, celery, onion, mushroom, and then a savoury lemon sauce with cayenne and paprika, egg sauce with chopped up hard boiled eggs, and Dutch sauce for asparagus, seakale, and artichokes, Brown sauces and what might have been thought of as exotics, espagnol, gratin, an béchamel, and a couple of others too.

I must say I feel sorry for the despised cabbage… I guess to our tastes it was simply overcooked!

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