Sunday, February 28, 2016

Housewifery #1

Pearlie had this little book by L.C. Andrews titled Practical Lessons and Lectures on Cookery & Laundry Work. It was published in 1901, a quarter century before she was born so I expect it belonged to her mother or one of her aunts. It is fascinating and a reminder of how easy our lives are now compared to our great-grandmother's time.

I thought there might be some interesting recipes in there but they are mostly very plain. For example Lesson 5 has the following menu,

Sheep's Head and Broth. Brain Sauce. Fried Potatoes. Plain Currant Cake.

I could probably enjoy the Fried Potatoes and Currant Cake but there would need to be HP sauce on the potatoes and custard with the cake.

Looking on the bright side the meal only cost 8d. And the cake was the most expensive dish on the menu at 4d.

Lesson 17 gives some useful tips on what to watch out for at the butcher's shop - how not to get palmed off with elderly meats.

  • The legs of old turkeys are rough and blackish.
  • The bills and feet of old geese are reddish.
  • Old rabbits and hares have wide and tough ears.
  • If a lobster is freshly killed the tail will move when the eyes are pressed.

That must have been very useful knowledge back in the olden days.

The recipe for plum pudding isn't that different from the one my mother used. I might give that a go. And interestingly the recipe for shortcrust pastry calls for the addition of baking powder. I wonder why that should be? I'm going to try it and see. My pastry is very good. Will BP, as the book calls it, increase its fabulousness? We will see. Another thing. If there is any heavy duty cleaning to be done keep those skirts short.


Grannymar said...

I love reading these old books, but glad I am living in 21st century with all our modern aids and warm houses!

Nelly said...

Couldn't agree more!