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.
This is from the I’M IN THE MOOD FOR cookbook published in 1982 by Wear-ever Aluminum. Whilst it concludes in all cases that you are in the mood for food, it does helpfully divide the recipes into occasions such as Rainy Afternoons (Cheese Popcorn), The Pleasure of Your Own Company (Lemon Soup), and Romantic Notions (Stir-fried Cucumbers). I’ve chosen a recipe from the Winding Down section, which seems to link relaxation with violently attacking some meat.
This recipe is actually one of the very first vintage recipes I attempted, before even this blog existed. It’s from Florence White’s Good Things in England, which has been featured here many times before, and is probably one of my favourite books – not only did it spark my interest in vintage cookery but it also introduced me to the wonderful Persephone Books, who’ve republished it. Briefly, because I’m sure I’m repeating myself, Good Things in England was White’s attempt in the late 1920s to record traditional English recipes that she felt were in danger of being lost – the resulting book is a glorious compendium of regional and ancient recipes, and is a pleasure to read regardless of whether you plan to cook from it.
Two recipes in one today, both from The Italian Cookbook by Maria Luisa Taglienti, published by Spring Books in 1953. It’s a comprehensive guide to Italian recipes from all regions of that country, and for all parts of the meal. The introduction defensively explains how fine cooking is associated with French culture when it actually originates in Italy, and goes on to point out that Catherine de’ Medici introduced a number of Italian culinary techniques and utensils, including the fork, to other cultures, so there. Halfway through the book there are line drawings illustrating different types of pasta, these pictures are adorably quaint, some of the them simply being squares or rectangles with ‘LASAGNE‘ or ‘EGG BARLEY’ as a caption.
There’s loads of recipes in it that I want to try out, and some I might hold back on such as Brussels Sprouts Parmigiana…ummh. Tonight though I just needed a simple dinner.