Sometimes things falling apart are not necessarily a disaster… I think it was in ‘The Tin Drum’ by Günter Grass where the hero – or maybe main character, Oskar Matzerath, describes having random pages of some book, maybe something to do with shipping, or weather, I don’t remember, but from these disparate pages he learns and understands something. Looking through an old cookery book, I came across two pages from a different cookery book but I have no idea what it was. I guess it was published in the 1940’s/50’s/early 60’s.

I have pages 3-4 and 101-102.

  • page 3 – Important baking hints – flaking, fluting. folding, fruit (dried), kneading
  • page 4 – oven, rubbing in, sieving, storage, testing a cake, trimming
  • page 101 – Sauces – sweet variation, foundation recipe for sweet sauce and a clear sauce using water instead of milk and arrowroot instead of cornflour, miscellaneous sauces – apple/bread/curry sauce
  • page 102 – horseradish sauce, mint sauce, tomato sauce, pudding sauces – custard/jam

Trimming by the way, means cutting off the pastry edge of a pie or tart with a sharp knife. I’m not sure that anyone these days would make a jam sauce – more likely to reach for a bought squeezy bottle of something similar! The sweet sauces would have accompanied puddings of some description, probably plain suet or steamed puddings. First of all there is a basic recipe for a sweet sauce, milk, cornflour, milk and sugar (or a clear sauce as described above)

  • strawberry or raspberry or other flavour (using essences not the actual fruit)
  • lemon or orange (using essences or the zest of the fruit)
  • chocolate (drinking chocolate, or cocoa and sugar)
  • coffee (essence and sugar)
  • ginger (ground ginger sieved with the cornflour, or 2-3oz finely chopped crystallised or preserved ginger)

The apple sauce is cooked apples, sugar and margarine, the bread sauce is onion, milk, bread, and a single clove, and curry sauce is a bit more complicated – apples, onion,curry powder, margarine, vegetable stock, tomatoes, meat extract, vinegar/lemon juice, sugar, sultanas. The horseradish, mint and tomato sauces are all made in a conventional way, but all have sugar, which I guess we would leave out today!

having these two pages is curiously inspiring… not only will I go back and read ‘The Tin drum’ but I might try a couple of the recipe… things fall apart and come together!

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