I was very fortunate to be given a wonderful old book, The Constance Spry Cookery Book for my birthday present. it was first published in 1956 by which time she was seventy years old; she died just four years later. I’m sure this edition of her recipes included many which she had written before, but is described as “one of the best known cookery books of all time. It is one of the kitchen bibles, worshipped by millions”. It was co-written by Rosemary Hume, and it is still published and on the shelves today… however my birthday gift is sixty-one years old! (Rosemary Hume was twenty years younger than Constance, born in 1907 and dying in 1984)
The emulsifying machine is a blender – one of the stand-bys of kitchen equipment now, but obviously quite a new thing in the 1950’s. It is described as ‘a small but not inexpensive piece of electrical equipment… this invaluable appliance.’ It is recommended that the accompanying instruction booklet should be consulted and read with care… I’m afraid I sometimes neglect to do this with something new, I should take Constance’s advice, it’s much easier in the long run! The only slight thing I would say in my defence, often these days the instructions are minimal, sometimes pictorial, sometimes not there at all as the designer thinks its use should be intuitive!
There are some good suggestions, from Constance, soups and sauces, cocktails and sorbets and this suggestion for newly wed wives: “I think it should come early on the list of wedding presents even for the bride who hopes and believes she will find a good cook...” I can’t imagine that was the case for many post war households, to have a cook!
Here is a rather strange recipe…
Cold tomato and pineapple soup
- ½lb chopped peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- small cup of tinned tomatoes
- coconut water, or 1 cup of coconut milk
- small cup of water
- half fill the emulsifying machine goblet with the ingredients
- switch to half and run for two minutes
- repeat with the rest of the ingredients
- adjust the seasoning and serve chilled
It might taste all right on a hot day, but I am not totally convinced, and less convinced by the recipe for Potage Bruxelles – Brussels sprout soup… I think I’ll give that a miss…