The National Mark Calendar of Cooking is a great little cookery book, following the seasons produce with helpful hints and recipes… it doesn’t matter that it’s over eighty years old! For July’s selection, it has a focus on beans, broad, kidney and runner. In a previous National Mark Recipe Book there was advice on how to cook French beans… however in this little volume the authors say that “we may like a little variety in our methods of serving them.” The beans should be cooked – or ‘just under-cooked’ and then can have the following further preparation:

French beans sautés: heat some butter in a frying-pan, put the beans into this and toss them until they just begin to brown. Then sprinkle with a little salt, and when dished, with a little chopped parsley.
French beans Provençale: fry them as above, but use olive oil instead of butter and fry with a very little finely-chopped garlic. After the pan is off the fire, add some small pieces of salted anchovy fillets.
French beans Lyonnaise: fry in butter or lard, having first fried in some very finely chopped onion or thin onion rings. This is like the well-known Lyonnaise potatoes using beans instead. Sprinkle with parsley on serving.

Once again, this recipe which is offered to ordinary housewives for their ordinary families, demonstrates that British cooking was more sophisticated than later post-war cooks would have us believe… olive oil, garlic, anchovies… we were doing it in the 1920’s and 30’s!

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