Recently, my Mum had a clear out and gave me two of her cook books. One was her copy of the famous cookbook that every young housewife owned back in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s – The Dairy Book of Home Cookery and the second book was one that used to belong to my Nan’s sister – Good Housekeeping’s Picture Cake Making.
I do feel pretty privileged to have been given these books. Mum bought her copy of the The Dairy Book of Home Cookery from the milkman back in 1979 and it has been a fond favourite of hers and used in many kitchens over the years. It takes me right back to my childhood and I really did not expect her to part with it any time soon. In fact, a few years back, I once declared on here that I would have to prise it out of her cold dead hands! – What a lovely daughter I am, eh!
The Good Housekeeping’s Picture Cake Making belonged to my Nan’s sister Aunty Sylvie who died young in her 40’s and was a keen baker. Nan, herself was not much of a cook, nor did she bake. But my Mum and I have both inherited Aunty Sylvie’s love of baking, and so the book has now been passed onto me. My sister, bless her heart, has not inherited the baking gene. She loves cake, but she just cannot be bothered to make any. Fair enough, she has Mum and I on hand to make birthday cakes and treats for her and the nephews! Its an arrangement that keeps everyone happy and fed in cake.
My copy of the Good Housekeeping’s Picture Cake Making was published in 1952 and has lost its cover a long time ago. At some point it was covered with plastic book wrap and has a few mould spots inside, so is not in the best condition. It also has clipping from 80’s Family Circle mags and some handwritten recipes from our former elderly neighbour Marjorie all tucked inside for safe keeping by my Mum, and I love it for this! Its a little piece of family history that I will treasure for many years to come.
It has colour photos inside and (my favourite bit) some vintage advertisements. Even a Pyrex one! On the downside, it also has some shocking politically incorrect cakes. Lets just say that I never knew that cakes could be so offensive and racist until I read this book. Things like that are best left in the past.Its funny, because a few months before Mum gave me her copy of The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, I actually found one in mint condition in a charity shop for £1.50! You can tell which one is which in the photo below!I politely declined her gift, explaining that I already had a copy and that she could keep hold of it if she needed to. But she insisted I take it as she was determined to declutter (no, she has not read this book either). I thought about ebaying the charity shop find, but in the end I decided to hold onto both copies. Mums for sentimental purposes and the other copy for back up sentimental purposes (i.e if Mums falls apart in the future, I can still think of her flicking through the back up book!)
In the last decade or so Mum has used her book less and less, as I guess, she finally learnt to cook from it (Im joking Mum!) It is a bit dated now and tastes and cooking habits have changed a lot as its all about the cream, eggs and offal this book rather than current foodie favourites like quinoa, chia seeds and kale. But some classics never date – like the well used recipe for scones inside this book. See below!That reminds me, I must scan the recipe for her. She thought she had memorised it, but the other day asked me to “write down the scone recipe from my milkman book” for her! You just can’t beat a nice homemade fruit scone, eh!