Sunday, 7 April 2013

Pick your Precious - April

Jamie Oliver? Nigella Lawson? Delia Smith? Oh yes I am an avid collector of their cookery books and you will find all their names in my bookshelves. But when I want something classic, tried and tested, this is the book to which I turn.


 
Now it's not new and it's definitely not fancy and there is no way I would ever go into a bookstore and buy the newest edition so I could throw this one away.  This cookery book was given to me by my mum as an engagement present. I loved cooking but back in those olden days, there weren't many celebrity chefs bringing out books and I relied on my O level cookery recipes and Mum's family recipes.  This book has very few photos in it, a few black and white lined drawings, splashes and spillages all over it and every classic recipe you could ever need.  It's from Good Housekeeping and when I received it, it had a green hardcover with gold lettering on it.   There was a colourful paper sleeve around it too, but that fell to pieces many years ago.  Now it has a tatty front cover piece of card and the index pages have fallen out of the binding and are attached to the main book by a piece of ribbon.  Interleaved in the pages are comments, hints that Mum passed onto me and instructions like 'might not need to add so much liquid next time'.  In there too are a few handwritten recipes that my Mum gave me, like her recipe for meringues. Some of the handy hints she scribbled alongside these notes make me smile so much as they probably made sense to her at the time, but they're not always so clear to anyone else now!  But along with those smiles is a little pang of sadness that she's not here for me to say 'What on earth does that mean?!'  No mention is made of microwaves, recipes are shown in lbs and oz first and those new fangled metric equivalents in brackets.  This is 'proper old school' as my kids would say.
But it's precious.  It was my first recipe book, and given from mum to daughter as I embarked on proper grown up married life, and no other cookery book will ever take its place.  It's not a very traditional heirloom but my kids know that this is one cookery book that must never be thrown away.
This post is part of Sian's monthly blog post - be sure to swing by there and see what other people are choosing this month.
 
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24 comments:

alexa said...

I can really understand how much this means to you! Beautifully expressed. I was devastated when I discovered my Mum had thrown out the recipe book that was familiar to me from childhood, with its blotches, bits of dried flour sticking pages together and scribbles in the margins. So glad yours is being cherished.

Missus Wookie said...

Oh how lovely - definitely mustn't been thrown away. I have a "Joy of Cooking" which although we also have various others is still the authoritative - where else do you find recipes not only for cakes but for squirrel? ;)

dogmatix said...

What a great precious to have :-)

Gail said...

Oh how wonderful to have a gift like that! It brought back memories of my Mum's old cookbook. I don't know what ever happened to it. I wish I had it.

Sian said...

I love this! It has reminded me of the first cookery book I received, which the family gave to me the Christmas before I got married. It's a Country Kitchen one - all 1980's brown and cream, and honestly I wouldn't be without it. The first thing I made was lasagne and I still make it the same way today. Thanks Deb - may your book continue to give you many hours of cookery pleasure! You've got me thinking too - maybe I should leave a few notes in mine?

Ladkyis said...

I have two copies of that very book. One that my Mum gave me as a wedding present when Mr M and I got married so only 30 odd years old and the other is the one my Mum bought for herself when Good Housekeeping were celebrating an anniversary - 25 years I think so it was from the late 50's early 60's. It has some colour pictures - probably because it is a celebration one but it is the only cookery book I use regularly I gave my children their own modern copy to tide them over but as I have three children and only two books..... oh oh.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Such a lovely thing to have, with the additions by your Mum. My first cookery book was given to me, by my boyfriend's parents, when I left home. Sadly almost every recipe involves meat and I became a vegetarian shortly after!

S said...

How wonderful that it has been used and used and used! I'm ashamed to admit that the first cookbook my Mom gave me is still in excellent condition - and alas, no handwritten guidance.

Cheri said...

Brings back memories for me of Mom's old cookbook - the red and white plaid cover of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that was the cooking bible for our family. I got a new copy when I got married. It's a 3 ring binder style book - and still the one I use the most.

Jennie Hart said...

Mine is a GH one too and still the best authority on a recipe actually working, yes I have written in them too :) My Mum's handwritten ones are precious and useful too.

Kylie said...

Although not quite as old I too have a cookbook given to me when I left home. At one stage at University, my roommates and I had several copies of the same book given to us by our mother's. Perhaps one day mine will be as well worn as yours, although I'll admit I'm not terribly good at following a recipe.

Abi said...

This is amazing! I think I am going to ask my mum to write down all our favourite recipes because I love reading them in her handwriting. What a treasure you have there.

scrappyjacky said...

I've still got some of my mum's handwritten recipes....precious indeed.

Elizabeth said...

Your story touched my heart. I have my mother's cook book, and every time I try one of her favorite recipes I feel she is there with me.

Alison said...

I had a very similar type of book(though don't think it was Good Housekeeping) which Kirsty now has and refuses ti give back!
Alison xx

Sandie said...

That's a lovely story Debs. I love cookery books too, Nigel Slaters are a joy to read let alone for inspiration and recipes.
But I see why you have your treasured book. Hand written notes and comments made it so much more person. A real treasure to have.

Sheena said...

What a very precious book this is indeed x
love that you Mum added hints & tips to help you out.
many thanks for sharing.

Jane said...

I have a book like that, well used!

Karen said...

I have a great collection of cookbooks, but the one that I want the most seems to have disappeared when my father passed away. My mother (who died when I was 20) had a collection of hand-written recipes in a red cooking notebook. I had copied some of the recipes from it, but I would love to have the whole book. I really understand why this is so precious to you!

Jo said...

Your cookery book really is precious with all of those notes in x

Miriam said...

Oh this is just wonderful. I have a couple of old, tatty, oil and flour stained books, I know how much they mean to you. Thanks for sharing and for inspiring me to look over my books.

My simple life said...

Beautiful story. I have an old bero book my gran gave me and I treasure it too.

Sinead said...

This is such a lovely story! I think the recipe books that are old and tattered are the best - they show such character and tell the story of lots of hours in the kitchen :) Thanks for sharing x

Maria Ontiveros said...

What an awesome story! I used to love giving cookbooks to newlyweds. And I think I got a Joy of Cooking myself!
Rinda