One of my bookshelves is full of old recipe books. I treasure them so much more than the modern, glossy, photograph-heavy ones of today.
Quite a few of them are thick, handwritten tomes. The earliest dates from 1840 - the year Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. The handwritten books often show several different hands as the books were passed through different generations, or perhaps the family cook retired and another took her place. Mystery women, to whom I am so very grateful.
Tucked in amongst them is the recipe book begun by my mother with occasional additions by me. I cherish this one most of all.
How did I come by all these lovely books? I just happened to be in an auction house for the purpose of bidding on something entirely different when the first one in my collection came up for sale. It cost me the princely sum of £30.00. After that, I kept my eyes open for others.
I hope you will join me as I trawl through these old treasures and the delights they have to offer.
Old recipes, household medicines and remedies, cleaning products, wines, beers, yeast recipes, knitting patterns and household routines are some of the many topics covered.
Tucked into one of them were notes for the Cook and the housemaid, detailing their duties for each day of the week...and goodness, were they expected to cram a lot in!
More next time.
This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!
The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.
I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.