Category Archives: Eliza Acton

Mandrang or Mandram

After buying 2 cucumbers in order to make one into a Chinese salad for a party, I decided to make the other into salad as well (as opposed to tzatziki  and a tzatziki  delivery system).  After checking the index of Modern Cookery For Private Families (first published in 1845, reissued in 2011 by Quadrille), I decided to make the cucumber dish with the oddest name.

I canot find out much about the words ‘mandram’ or ‘mandrang’ or who went to to where in the Caribbean to bring the recipe back to Acton. Most descriptions of this ‘salad-like hash’ (William Woys Weaver, Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, edited by Harlan Walker, 1991), lead back to Acton’s recipe, although I enjoyed the idea of it as  an ‘unfailing stimulant to the appetite‘. Food in England by Dorothy White (1945) has completely different recipe for ‘cucumber mandram’, so perhaps I’ll have a go at that another time.

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Cream crust

The lovely Quadrille books sent Alix and I their two most recent publications which include Eliza Acton’s Modern Cooking for Private Families, first published in 1845.  Acton had one volume of love poetry published in 1826 and was advised by her publishers when she submitted a second volume ten years later,  to write a cookery book  instead.

This 656 page giant is divided into chapters for  meat, bread, vegetables etc,  written in Acton’s deft, frank style.  I’ve never had the urge to make stuffing before, but the forcemeat chapter has made me quite excited by the idea. Many of the recipes look temptingly well-seasoned (cayenne pepper and shallots feature heavily) and there are at least four recipes for ridiculously named biscuits.
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