There’s fashion for everything and fashion for food interests me, not because I want to follow whatever is fashionable (beetroot and sweetbreads seem to be rising stars at the moment, I’m pleased to say… until they become too expensive for ordinary people to buy!) I’m interested because of my fascination with old cookery books and recipes, and old ways of making meals and being economic and seasonal with food… ok and I’m interested in food.
I mentioned that a friend gave me some old books, and one was The Anglice Café Cookery Book by Mary A. Feilden. It is a curious book, printed some time in the early 1920’s, because some of the pages are wrongly numbered, the index is not complete, and there is occasionally a strange muddle in the order of dishes, for example, creme de vanilla (custard, cream, vanilla, lemon jelly, cherries and angelica) coming between cornets de petits pois (pastry horns filled with a white sauce, garnished with coraline pepper, parsley and watercress – no mention of petit pois at all) and stuffed mushrooms (the stuffing being onion, ham, breadcrumbs and parsley).
The meat section contains recipes for beef, veal, pork, mutton and lamb; these days in the UK you can’t get mutton except from specialist butchers. it’s all lamb. There are also recipes for tripe, sweetbreads, cowheel, calves feet, ox tongue, ox cheek, oxtail, lamb’s fry (don’t ask) Rabbit, hare, pigeon and other game appear in the meat section as well as in their own game section, and oysters appear with beef stew and also on their own in patties. The recipes aren’t in alphabetical order, or grouped according to ingredient, and there are two recipes for Irish stew, on different pages. Another strange thing I noticed – Saturday’s pudding (a steamed pudding made from cold cooked meat and potatoes, boiled onion and gravy) Saturday’s pudding, page 45, is exactly the same as Monday’s pudding, page 47 – exactly the same!
This is such a wonderful book because of its mistakes, typos, lack of proof reading, and of course the recipes from a hundred years ago… I haven’t tried any yet… I think when I do I’ll choose with care and read them very carefully before I begin!
By the way, I can’t find what coraline pepper is… although there are people with that name! I have a feeling it maybe a hot pepper, like chilli powder.