When I find an old cookery book, it isn’t just the recipes which are interesting, it’s the introductions and instructions which fascinate. They so often show how times have changed, much more than the recipe which often seems very contemporary in many ways. In this book, published in 1935, the first page is about kitchen equipment; I can’t imagine a modern cookery book having a section like that. ‘The gas stove’, ‘The Electic Stove’. Oil Stoves’, ‘Coal Cookers’. ‘Slow Combustion Stoves’, and ‘An Open Fireplace’ – because of course in 1935, many people would still have been cooking over an open fire.
AN OPEN FIREPLACE
When it is desired to economise, it is possible to do a certain amount of cooking by any open fireplace or with some gas fires by means of a new kind of trivet. Instead of the usual small and wobbly concern, this trivet has legs which support one end while the other rests over the front of the grate. If desired, two of these trivets could be used, one holding a steamer with pudding or vegetables or both, with the other holding a casserole with a joint of meat. In this way cooking and heating are done at the same time.
It is interesting that in this economical way of cooking, there might be a joint of meat as the meal – these days if we were economising we would do without meat completely, whatever our method of cooking our meal. I would guess that very few of us have an option to use an open fire, with or without trivets!