Category Archives: 1940s

Peach cream

E Phyllis Clark  is described as “Former lecturer in Domestic Science, Government Training College for Teachers, Trinidad and Tobago, and Department of Education, Uganda”. This book was published for The Government of Trinidad and Tobago by Thomas Nelson, with the first edition out in  1945, (my copy is the 6th reprint from 1964). The price on the slip cover is 7/6 and is stamped in blue ink “Bought from The Voice Bookshop, St Lucia” – the kind of detail that sets the mind wandering.

There is a preface by R Patrick, Director of Education “No pains were spared in making the book essentially West Indian and practical, and much valuable advice was received from local medical officers, dieticians, and teachers and other in the various West Indian Islands. To all of these ladies and gentlemen, the Compiler would desire to tender her grateful thanks”

Clark authored several books and I assume they’re all written like this one – clipped tones and with an emphasis on nutrition, food storage and cooking techniques. This reader describes it well as providing “instructions on how to build a meat safe and how to construct a protected hanging basket for dry goods, as well as how to clean fish, pick fresh vegetables, identify vitamin deficiencies, and more”.

More being recipes for pregnant and nursing mothers, toddlers, invalids, ‘East Indian’ and Chinese dishes. The majority of recipes are divided method of cooking – frying, grilling, steaming. Irish potatoes are recommended throughout.

Writing up this recipe now is making me a little sad, I actually cooked this nearly three  months ago, on a beautful summer evening, warm enough to buy fresh peaches jammed full of flavour and then sit on the terrace drinking Pimms (n.b. not my terrace or Pimms), while the milk set in the fridge beyond what was recommended and then had to be whipped up before adding the sweet, sweet peach juice. Our pudding ended up a little less homogenously textured and a little less firmly set, more of a fool, less of a cream.

Results
Despite lax timing,  it was a success – very simple, light and refreshing without being spartan and as the recipe states, you can vary the fruits and the sugar content (we skipped the sugar entirely).

Is it dark at 4 o’clock where you are? I’m 95% sure my next post will be a stew.

Peached by Elly

Chocolate sandwich

I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and bake something (also wake up without alarm clock, make plans and promptly forget them, spend an entire day in pyjamas). This recipe,  from the Passover chapter of Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery looked interesting and challenging (my relationship with things contains whisked egg whites being somewhat troubled). I have never eaten anything like this before  and  imagined it to be a bit like a giant macaroon. (The title should be a clue to keep an open mind. Would it be a cake? A cookie? A chocolate sandwich what?) I had no qualms about pulling my food processor out to whisk the eggs as the book itself features an advert for the Sunbeam Mixmaster.
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Salmon Patties

I always feel a bit sorry for Modern Cookery Illustrated. At 65 years old, I’m not convinced by its claims to modernity, and the only thing its illustrations (actually black and white photographs) illustrate is how far cookbook design has come since 1947. It feels like a poor woman’s Beeton. However, the copy I have has been well-used and worn down until the binding is almost soft to the touch, and it has a lovely reassuring smell too.  It’s had a lot of use and been patched up a fair bit.

As Pie Month encompasses patties as well as more traditional pies, I chose these as a cheapish endeavour.
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Stuffed Monkey

A recipe which has intrigued me for a while, combining as it does many of my favourite things to bake with – cinnamon, ground almonds, candied peel. It kept catching my eye in the index of Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book:

Recipe

Results
A marvel! Truly one of the most delicious, most interesting things I have ever baked. The outer layer was crisp on top, and then fudge-y, like a brownie. The filling was light, flavoursome and almost creamy, with the right amount of chewy pieces of peel. This is a rich cake, as you can see from the relatively small proportion of flour to butter and sugar, however, it is also wonderfully satisfying and stayed fresh for 2 weeks in a tin.

I have since read variations of this which include making mini ones using a shallow bun tray and using raisins instead of candied peel.

Monkey’d by Elly

Cinnamon Balls

Inspired by Foodista’s recent newsletter about Passover cookery, I decided that, as promised, now was a suitable time to try Florence Greenberg’s cinnamon balls. I’ve never had cinnamon balls before, but love all the ingredients and was optimistic about the outcome.

Recipe
Ground almonds 6oz
Castor sugar ½lb
Cinnamon 1 tablespoon
Whites of 3 eggs

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Cheese and walnut squares

In my neverending quest to find new ways to eat potatoes, I decided to try these potato scone-pancake hybrid from Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book (6th Edition, 1958)

Recipe
Cooked potato 1lb
Grated cheese 3 oz
Salt and cayenne
Walnuts 2 oz
Milk ½ teacup
One egg
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Hungarian Onion Soup

Sorry this is being posted late! Events ran away from me towards the end of last week.

As promised, another soup, and one you could conjure from store cupboard ingredients, (if you own a store cupboard, I took these items from my spice shelf, carb-drawer and the fruit bowl).  I’m interested to see if it’s edible exactly as written or if these seven ingredients actually don’t magickallye combine into a tasty meal.(This recipe is from Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book, 6th edition, 1958).
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Clarifying and Rendering Fat

The first time I bought some lard to make the pastry for chicken and leek pie, a horrified thrill ran through me. Lard! I was actually buying lard and I was going to cook and eat it too! Though really,  I shouldn’t have a problem with it – sometimes I eat Bacon Frazzles and heaven knows what they contain.

So here, by request, is how to clarify fat and as a bonus, how to render it! Both methods are from Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book, (1947). I have never done this – if you have, or if you go on to do so, let us know! NB. I have no idea how long fat processed according to either method can be stored and used safely. Caveat culinator (or something)!
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Classification of Soups

At the beginning of last year a regular reader requested some soup recipes and we… didn’t exactly respond satisfactorily.  So, as the weather is currently fairly horrible and many of us are a bit skint after the holidays, it’s definitely time to honour this. I’ll post a soup recipe every week in January but first some fundamentals, from the Jewish Cookery  Book by Florence Greenberg (first published in 1947):

Classification of Soups
Soups can be divided into four classes.

1. Clear Soup or Consomme
Clarified meat stock, garnished according to fancy.

2. Purees
The solid material is rubbed through a sieve, reheated with the liquor, and a little flour or cornflour added.

3. Thickened Soups
Made of meat, fish, or vegetable stock and thickened with some cereal, such as flour, cornflour or arrowroot, or, in the case of fish or vegetable stock, a liaison of eggs and milk.

4. Broths
These contain meat, vegetables, and cereals, but no additional thickening. They can be garnished with vegetables, rice, barley, etc.
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Date Spread

About a year ago I set myself the challenge of having a sandwich with a filling from a vintage cookbook every day for lunch for a week, and as with most challenges proudly declaimed in the internet, it was only half completed. (OK, I managed three days out of  five. See results here.)  I did at the time however, have my eye caught by one of the sweet fillings listed in the Jewish Cookery Book by Florence Greenberg (1947),  date spread.

Now I have a mixed relationship with dried dates – I love them pulverised, for example, as the filling to a date slice, but hate them whole, finding the skin weirdly plastic-y and the inside too sticky. (On a similar note, I recommend you never voluntarily eat a sugar-preserved kumquat. They taste like the bastard child of marmalade and Lego.)

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