To de-fur a kettle, et al.

Do modern recipe books have lists of helpful cooking and general household suggestions in the back? I must look and check. In the meantime, here’s a selection of ‘Useful Information’ from Nell Heaton in 1944 in the penultimate chapter of ‘Cookery To-Day and To-Morrow’,  just before the final chapter of ‘Traditional Jewish Recipes’. I’ve omitted a couple, such as ‘scissors’, ‘chopping mint’ and ‘to dissolve gelatine’, and I admit I have made a couple of frivolous comments:

  • to de-fur a kettle
  • to season pans
  • to turn out a steamed pudding
  • to clean a burnt dish (also a frying pan, a cooking stove, and hands)
  • to use up sour milk for cheese
  • to freshen stale bread or rolls
  • to cut new bread
  • to cut sandwich loaves
  • to keep potatoes white
  • to peel onions
  • turnip peel
  • Gravy Browning (x2)
  • to clarify fat (X2)
  • to freshen rancid butter
  • to pickle meats, to pickle fish
  • to prevent milk from boiling over
  • uses for asbestos mats
  • (i) cooking smells (does it? Is that good or bad?) (ii) to prevent small when cooking greens or cauliflower (iii) to remove teh smell of onions
  • to keep cakes moist (the m-word is one of the most hated in the English language)
  • to prevent sausages from burning
  • to use potato peelings
  • to colour soups
  • forcing bags (forcing them to do what?)
  • to make cutlet frills
  • vanilla pods, French mustard, seasoned flour
  • to make cutlet frills
  • to stretch the Butter Ration


  1. Ian Kay

    I like the m-word: it’s suggestive of the condition it describes.

    I’ve heard of forcemeat – it’s described as a bit like sausage meat or spam. The word is a corruption of the French word, “to stuff”. Maybe the bag is what the meat is stuffed into or squeezed out of. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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