The National Mark, an agency set up by the Ministering of Agriculture at the beginning of the 1930’s to set a standard for food; it so annoys me when British food and cooking is denigrated – British people have always enjoyed producing and cooking good food in interesting and different ways, The war years and the rationing had a huge impact which continued into the 1950’s; but whatever the standards in restaurants and cafés, I’m sure home-cooked food was as good as anywhere else in the world. Many families had vegetable gardens, and allotments, not just to save money but to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables of the season and to experiment with different and unusual varieties

Ambrose Heath (1891-1969) and Dorothy Daisy Cottington-Taylor (1891-1944) who wrote the little recipe book have an introduction to each month; elegantly written and a real insight to home cooking in the 1930’s.

October dives still further into winter, and breakfasts become a matter of consequence. Eggs must once more be studied – and mushrooms. Closer acquaintance with the various cuts of beef is recommended too. The garden still bears up, though there are almost daily secessions. peas have left us long since, and runner beans are almost done – quite if Jack Frost is about. But parsnips will be all the better for his touch, and so will celery. Cauliflower is a newcomer and usually plentiful and so is red cabbage, a fine vegetable when eaten hot in some way as described elsewhere in these pages; but the vegetable marrows have by now been ‘jammed.’

Ducks and geese and chickens make fine fare, and the day of the grilled steak and chop has arrived. The gurgling stew which helped so much in the summertime is needed now in earnest, and cold feet require hot soup to enliven them!

Evenings out, friends to dine, a snack after the theatres or the pictures: these arouse the housewife’s interest in good food again. Something very attractive, something unusual, something savoury, something deliciously appetising! She knows by now that her National Mark can be relied on.

By the way, the elegant little wood cut illustrations were done by Blair Hughes-Stanton, (1902-1981).

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