I collect old cookery books… not just actual books but the free leaflets, pamphlets and booklets given away by food manufacturers and producers. It isn’t just an interest in the recipes and food that was eaten in former times, but the little glimpse into a forgotten world, the ordinary cosy domestic world of ordinary people.
Spillers Ltd, known for flour and baking products, sold a little party booklet for 1/- , one shilling and I’m sure it was really helpful for many people, with lots of ideas which now sound almost funny, but would have been just what people did at parties.
On parade… yes I guess we still feel like that, that we’re ‘on show… your house, your skill as a hostess – and especially your cooking!’ I think offering guests ‘gay paper hats’ might not get quite the response it would have had in the 1950’s and 60’s when this booklet was circulated. There aren’t just recipes but advice as well, including:
- quick tricks
- setting the table… It’s important to do it the right way
- games for children
- 20 tips for a good party
- finishing touches… make all the difference
- cocktail time – Dry Martini, Dubonnet, Gin Cocktail, Gibson, Maiden’s Prayer, White Lady, Za Za and Manhattan
Real care has been taken over the way the booklet is organized and presented, with proper titles for each section; it’s just a pity that the author’s name isn’t included – no doubt he or she went on to produce cookery books and maybe even programmes with their identity revealed.
- Fine and fancy – little cakes for every occasion
- Biscuit box… welcome at any time of day
- Cut and come again cakes – baking day specials to last through the week
- Christmas fare – traditional recipes for the festive time of year
- Perfect pastry… and ways of using it
- Savoury and satisfying – main meals at budget prices
- TV snacks – round the fire recipes you will all enjoy
- What a sauce! – the final touch to a perfect menu