Invalid Cooking: The Doctor in the Kitchen

I’ve written before about a cookery writer and radio personality, Mrs Arthur Webb who toured the country meeting housewives form across Britain, giving advice on cooking and collecting their recipes too, traditional old recipes, maybe hundreds of years old.

Let me share her story again:

Mrs Arthur Webb was a cookery writer from the 1930’s and 40’s; ‘Preserving’, ‘Farmhouse Cookery’, ‘War-time Cookery’, ‘Invalid Cooking: The Doctor in the Kitchen’ and ‘Mrs Arthur Webb’s Economical Cooking’ are some of her books. Mrs Arthur Webb (who never used her own first name) toured the country in her car in the 1930’s, writing columns for ‘Farmer’s Weekly’.  At this time she also had a radio slot to give cookery talks, for example, ” Meat from Stove to Table ‘ by Mrs. Arthur Webb: ‘ Pot Roasts ”

There are so many healthy eating books around at the moment, so many suggesting that many ills can be ‘cured’ by eating the right food prepared in the right way, some people might think this a new idea. Mrs Arthur Webb was a head of the game with her ‘Invalid Cooking’ : “Food properly prepared and given to the invalid in the right quantities at the right time is of vital importance to build up strength and put the invalid on the road to health.”  She understood how importance appearance was to tempt the appetite, attractive presentation, including the dishes on which the food was offered; she also was very firm in promoting scrupulous hygiene in the kitchen and the home. her recipes included the good old standbys of Victorian cooking for invalids, beef tea, jelly, broth, fish, vegetable and ‘restorative cordials’.

During the war, like many cookery writers, Mrs Arthur Webb had advice on how to be economical and cope with rationing; she suggested using a pressure cooker or three-tiered streamer to cook several things at the same time and so save fuel. Vegetables, meat and a pudding could all be cooked at once, and even a cake could be steamed; covered in a double layer of grease-proof paper, tied securely and steamed for one hour per pound of mixture was her instruction.

Apparently in the 1940’s the BBC were finding people who could speak on the radio, such as Alistair Cook and Sir Malcolm Sergeant; of Mrs Arthur Webb, a BBC official said that ‘once she would start talking without notes, have to be stopped with a hammer’!

Here is an interesting post which mentions Mrs Arthur Webb, and gives a delicious recipe too:

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