Sunday, July 12, 2015

Some of the best cookbooks ...

... are the ones put together by amateurs! Recently a friend shared this article with me:

It describes how the sale of collaboratively constructed cookbooks used to be a big fundraiser for community and church groups. One of my favourite and most-used cookbooks, to this day, is a book like this! It was published by the 'New Zealand Every Boy's and Every Girl's Rallies', an organisation I know nothing about, so I'm mystified as to how it came to be in my possession. Anyway, it has been my constant companion for more than thirty years and many of the recipes on this blog have been adapted from recipes in the book. As well as numerous chapters on baking (squares and slices, balls, uncooked fudge, buttered items, large and fruit cakes, biscuits, etc. etc.)  it has sections on preserving, meats, vegetables, sandwich fillings ... there are even small sections on Polynesian and Jewish foods, beverages and bulk cooking (e.g. how to make apple crumble or scrambled eggs for a party of 25). Among the more mainstream recipes there are reminders of leaner times, such as a recipe for a pie filling made from apples, onions and bacon said to 'taste like duck', and one for a coleslaw that 'keeps up to 14 days in fridge'. There are also a handy sections suggesting how to use leftovers and providing household hints. It's probably one of the most-thumbed books in my house. A real treasure. As well as recipes for food, there's the odd item like this:

How to preserve a husband

Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young. When once selected give your entire thoughts to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping them in a pickle, others are constantly getting them in hot water. This may make them sour, hard, and sometimes bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet and tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap them in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared they will keep for years.

(from page 21, Rally Cook Book (11th printing), 1982, New Zealand)

No comments: