Bare-buckle knoxing

Here is a further set of spoonerisms, malapropisms, slips of the tongue… I still can’t remember what bobfoc means!

  1. someone get a machete and shoot me
  2. water off a duck’s arse
  3. we’ve had that fruit since we bought it
  4. Smoke on your face (egg on your face)
  5.  Bobfoc, you’ll know it when you know it
  6. Obviously we don’t have crystal balls
  7.  You could cut the ice with a knife
  8. Best thing since Cheddar cheese
  9. A three man snake
  10. Bare-buckle knoxing
  11. I can see your chin growing.
  12.  about an Amish woman: was she born an Amonite? (Mennonite)
  13. he only went aloof twice (awol)
  14. The right arm doesn’t know what the left arm is doing
  15. I didn’t realise what a lovely shape it was until Belinda got it out
  16. He must use a time-keeping machine to try to be on time.
  17. Having had a very good start in terms 1 and 2, Jay has fallen off the top of the mountain in terms 3 and 4
  18. bushy eyed and bright tailed
  19. That boy has Tourette’s in his arse
  20. Stop talking me to in that patronosing voice

Grist to the mill and millstone grit

There is nothing which makes you feel more silly than loudly proclaiming a hilarious joke which depends on a play on words and then find you’ve muddled yourself completely by misremembering what the actual words are… I was trying to say something comical about ‘grist to the mill’ and ‘millstone grit’… on this occasion, luckily I realised before I opened my mouth and saved myself any embarrassment!

Grist to the mill means that something is of worth or value – or has the potential for profit, not necessarily financial; the word grist, as you might guess from the sound of it is Old English and means grinding something, or something that is going to be ground such as grain. The grist or grain going to the mill would become very profitable once it had been ground – I wonder if grist could also be a verb so the grain could be gristed? The actual phrase is also probably quite old, and recorded going back to the early 1500’s.

Something I learned when I was looking at these two similar meanings is that oats which have been husked – but not ground – were called grit, and the word grit used here comes from the same root, meaning something to do with being ground. As far as I can understand it, the two words grits (as in hominy grits, a sort of porridge) and grist have the same origin.

Millstone grit is a type of sandstone found in northern England and because of its coarse texture it was ideal for making millstones – as you can guess from the name! So millstone grit grinds grist… but the word grit here, associated with the rock comes from another Old English word which meant sand, or small particles of rock… and I guess the idea of a hard stone which can grind something is how the use of grit in the sense of being brave or determined arose… and that was first known to have been used at the turn of the nineteenth century.


Christmas in spring time?

A little while ago I mentioned that we are going to cook a Christmas meal for our friends from other countries (Italy, Spain, Hungary, Greece) who were home with their families at the actual time of Christmas, and so missed out on a typical and traditional British lunch!

I also mentioned that one very traditional thing missing off my family’s menu is bread sauce; as children we had all the usual things, but never, ever bread sauce, so I have no family recipe for it… I posted a recipe, but here is another one:

  • 1 teacup breadcrumbs
  • ½ pint milk
  • ½ oz butter
  • 1 small peeled onion
  • 2 cloves if liked
  • seasoning
  1. put all the ingredients in a saucepan to infuse in a warm place for about ½ hour
  2. heat gently until thick
  3. remove cloves an onion and beat until smooth
  4. serve with roast bird

One thing which was always on our Christmas table, but served with pudding and mincepies was rum butter… I don’t remember having fresh cream as a child, so maybe this was served instead, or maybe we just all liked it because of the rum!

  • 4 oz butter
  • 6 oz demerara sugar
  • squeeze of lemon juice or grated nutmeg (I guess you could have both!)
  • 1 -2 wine glasses of rum
  1. cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy
  2. gradually (very gradually) beat in the lemon juice if used and the rum – if it begins to split add a little icing sugar

We preferred it kept out of the fridge so although it was stiff it was not hard – there is a recipe for a similar thing called hard sauce, using icing sugar and brandy as opposed to demerara and rum and it is supposed to be put in the fridge so it does go hard.

Mrs Francillon

Staying with a friend who has just moved house, I was noseying through a pile of her unpacked but not shelved books and came across a 1926 publication of a 1920 book, Good Cookery. An absolute treasure, just the sort of thing I like, and while everyone was doing other things I enjoyed a while reading it and looking at the different recipes.

When I came home I looked it up and tried to find out more about the authors, W. R. G. Francillon, and the mysterious G.T.C.D.S… after a little research and lateral thinking and some lateral Googling, I discovered that G.T.C.D.S. wasn’t a person but the Gloucester Training College of Domestic Science. The college published other books, including K.A. Voller, Practical Processes for Garment Making and Simple Upholstery, by K.A.Voller, and the Needlework Sampler Book by V. E. Newton.

The Gloucester School of Cookery and Domestic Economy was opened in first 1891 and its purpose as you might imagine was to  train domestic science teachers . Nine years later it was renamed the Gloucestershire Training School of Domestic Science; over the years it became one the largest and prestigious domestic science schools outside London. It was renamed again and became the Gloucestershire Training College of Domestic Science and, in its last incarnation, from 1967, it was the Gloucestershire College of Education; it eventually closed for good in 1980.

So who was W. R. G. Francillon? She was Winifred Francillon, and she was born Winifred Griffiths R. Gordon in 1884 – she married Francis Francillon in Axminster in Devon in 1916 I have a feeling he was Francis James, born in 1879. Intriguingly, Francis seems to have two brothers, also called Francis… An interesting family, but for the moment I’m looking for Winifred… She is a little elusive but I think that although she was born in England, she may have spent time as a child in India, because her sisters were born in Bombay, and at one point she was lodging with  relatives – so maybe her parents were over there. I can’t find any trace of children born to Francis and Winifred, so maybe there were none; she died in 1970, aged eighty-six.

I would like to know more about her, but at the moment I have come to the end of the trail!

More recipes from 1904

When researching the Nottingham jar, I came across a recipe for a hot-pot using it to cook left over mutton; in the article were other suggestions for economical cooking, fish soup to start, mutton, and then peach batter pudding – and some very nice rolls to go with it all!

Fish soup – For this use the head and shoulders of a small cod and if you have a small haddock so much the better. Remove all the least fleshy parts from the cod, and put them on one side. The remainder, as well as the haddock you put into a saucepan with two quarts of cold water Add two carrots, one turnip (white), and two onions, all sliced. If procurable, you may also add about a teacupful of celery cut small, or you may substitute a salt-spoonful of celery seed tied in a piece of muslin. Boil all for two hours then strain it. Pour back into the saucepan, add half a pint of milk, butter the size of an egg, pepper and salt to taste and a thickening of flour. Put in the pieces of fish, and boil for five minutes. Just before serving sprinkle in a tablespoonful of finely minced parsley.

Peach Batter Pudding — For this very popular sweet, you will require a. tin of peaches, one pint of milk, one egg, a tablespoonful of flour and sugar. The entire cost is under 1s., so it cannot be termed a very expensive dish. Turn the fruit into a pie-dish, with a little of the juice, and sprinkle a little sugar over, but not much. Now make a batter with the flour, milk, and egg, adding a pinch of salt before mixing. Pour this over the peaches, and bake in a hot oven for twenty minutes, or until the batter is set and the top browned. Strew a little sugar over the surface and serve quickly, before it gets flat and heavy.

Some Nice  Rolls – Put two teaspoonfuls of baking powder into a basin and add a little at a time, one pound of flour : mix well as you add it. Stir in two teaspoonfuls of salt, moisten with a pint of sweet milk, and make up into rings or twists, brush over with beaten egg and bake on a floured tin for about ten minutes, in a hot oven.