An excellent find last week – a 1955 (3rd) edition of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cookery Compendium, first published by Waverly in 1952, for £3.50 in a local charity shop (prices for it on Amazon start at £21).
The book is divided into 3 sections – Basic cookery , Picture Cookery (a bit more advanced and with extra skills like jam-making) and Picture Cake Making (which if read for too long will induce nausea , even if you are an icing-loving fiend like me).
From the introduction :
“Here, in one handsome volume, is a true Home Cooking Companion. [Random capitalisation always reminds me of religious pamphlets.] It is produced with an eye to the needs of every member of the family and presented in attractive pictorial form, so that young daughters can be shown all the basic processes of cookery, and mothers can embark on ambitious recipes in the certain knowledge of success.”
The reader is also promised “nearly 2000 photographs, of which 64 are in wonderful, natural colours” (i.e. not in the slightest bit natural).
The politics of the book only improves after this point and I may go into that further in a future post, for today I just need a simple biscuit recipe.
2 oz margarine or dripping
8oz fine oatmeal
2oz brown sugar
A pinch of salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
A little milk
Rub the fat lightly into the oatmeal. Mix in the other dry ingredients. Form into a paste with the beaten egg and a little milk. Knead until smooth, and roll out to ¼ inch. Cut into rounds, prick and bake on a greased tin in a moderate oven (350 – 75 C degrees)for 15 – 20 minutes, until crisp
- Margarine is much stickier than butter and this was a mess to rub in and even more so to roll out, cut out and move onto the baking tray. My fingers were quickly covered in grease and grains of oatmeal and sugar and had to be washed twice.
- I tried rolling the dough out with the rolling pin clean and then sprinkled with flour. With flour was worse, as this seemed to dry the dough out and make it break into pieces further.
- The last two biscuits were formed out of balls of dough, squeezed flat.
- I halved the recipe as per – why doesn’t it say how many will be produced by the recipe?
- I used about a teaspoon of milk. Maybe this was too much? I added the milk along with the beaten egg, without mixing the egg in first. Probably the milk was unnecessary, but it was in the recipe!
- I forgot to prick them but the dough was so sticky, I don’t think they would have held.
This recipe produced 7(!) biscuits, very light and crisp with boring flavour – at first vaguely reminiscent of honey, but leaving a faintly metallic after-taste. 10 minutes after eating the first one, I am still nibbling on grains of oatmeal which stuck in my teeth.
I should have guessed that this recipe wouldn’t work, a quick google yields a biscuit with the same name but containing treacle and a little flour, both of which would help the texture and flavour. I was attracted to the simplicity of the recipe but somehow the tastes of the ingredients just don’t blend together.
I’m incredibly prejudiced against golf and all things golf-related and will continue to be so – even their snacks are rubbish.
Baked by Elly