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.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Alaskan Whale Stew & Other Delights

Alaska Whale Stew     (Serves 347,161)

1 x 52 ton blue whale
948 lbs tinned tomatoes
7326 lbs potatoes
2276 lbs carrots
104 lbs sat
52 gallons tabasco hot sauce
1896 lbs onions
927 lbs celery
76 lbs black pepper

Place whale in pot with tomatoes.   Cook at 300 degrees (gas mark 2) for four hours.

Add potatoes, carrots, salt, hot sauce, onions, celery and black pepper and simmer for 36 hours.

If you care for hare in your stew add a 2 pound rabbit.

Anonymous     Recipe taken from "Recipes from the Rectory & The Rest"   -  circa 1970's/80's sold in aid of a church roof restoration project.    Apparently every couple getting married in the parish was presented with a copy of the book (the rest of the recipes are all very standard).

Perhaps slightly more palatable:

Paradise Pudding (1830)

If you'd have a good pudding
Pray mind what your're taught
Take two pennyworth of eggs
When they are twelve for a groat.

Take of that summer fruit
Which Eve once did cozen
Well pared and well grated
At least half a dozen.

Six ounces of bread
Let your maids eat the crust
The crumbs must be grated
As fine as small dust.

Six ounces of currants
But pray pick them clean
Lest they grate in your teeth
You know what I mean.

And if you've a mind
To be clever and handy
Put in good lemon rind
And a large glass of brandy.

Six ounces of sugar
Won't make it too sweet
With some salt and some nutmeg
To make it complete.

Three hours let it boil
Without peeps or flutter
And then serve it up
With some good melted butter.

Adam tasted the pudding
T'was wondrous nice
So Eve cut her husband another large slice.

Taken from Recipes from Wrawby, a Lindsey (Lincs) Federation of WI's book, 1937.

Batchelor's Nightcap

Take one bottle of whisky.  Remove cork.   Pour contents into cut glass tumbler.  Half fill.   Add water to taste and consume immediately!

This one was taken from 'Hunting Cook' compiled by Rosemary Eustace.


  1. Place whale in pot???? Even a cauldron would be too small. I love that it will serve 347,161. Very exact measurements.
    Looks like a lovely book. Someone had a good sense humour

    1. The mind-boggling quantities and sheer impracticality of it all, certainly made me smile Linda!

  2. Some years ago I bought a large 'Fish Kettle', which I was convinced I might need at some future point. Up until now I never have, but if I could find a smaller Whale than the one you suggest, I might give it a go.

    1. Perhaps it would be a good idea to forget about the name and just regard it as a large cooking pan, then have some fun; it could be very useful when you are catering for one of your big gatherings.