I mentioned last week that I’d been delighted to find a new old cookery book – ‘Cookery To-day and To-morrow‘ ( I love what Wiktionary calls an ‘archaic spelling of today’) by Nell Heaton. In many ways, although it was first published in 1944, it has an attitude to food and cooking which is current today, but there are little things which amuse me; perfectly ordinary turns of phrase for seventy-six years ago, but are so dated now. In those days women did most of the cooking and housework, and their ‘duty’ was to look after and feed their husband and children. In some ways it’s as if a husband couldn’t cope with trying to cook and feed himself, he receives what he is given and would eat it, accepting whatever it was, even if it wasn’t good for him. Have a look at this which Nell writes in her chapter on ‘Methods of Plain Cooking’:
A healthy man is usually a happy man, and to remain healthy he must be given a well-balanced diet. Appetising and well-cooked food, served in a pleasant atmosphere, will be well digested, so equal care should be given to the presentation of the food as to its cooking.
If she had written ‘person’ instead of man it would indeed ring true today. This is what she goes on to say:
Young children and people doing heavy manual work need more food than people leading a sedentary life, and climatic conditions too, should be taken into consideration: in cold weather more energy-giving foods are needed than in warm weather, to provide heat for the body.
Nell writes about cooking and diet:
Foods are cooked to preserve them and to increase their palatability. Cooking alters the texture of the food and renders it more digestible: it also gives a greater variety of flavours.
Salads, vegetables and fruit are eaten raw and a good proportion should be included in the diet, particularly because of their Vitamin C content, which is mostly lost in cooking.
I’ve only started reading Nell’s book, I think I’m going to enjoy it, and enjoy trying some of her recipes!