Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Complete Farmhouse Cook Book

Today I rediscovered an old treasure - in the form of a cookery book. Don't you just love it when that happens. You are browsing your shelves, looking for something else entirely and you come across something that makes you exclaim: "How could I have forgotten I had this!"

My 'this' in question is a copy of 'The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cook Book', which I have had for at least 20 years and not properly looked at for at least 5, I would say. The book was published to tie in with a television series of the same name, which I dimly remember from childhood. I do know that it was in the days before television cooks became glamorous; the ladies who presented it looked comfortingly like real farmers' wives. I had forgotten until I read the blurb on the back of the book that most of the recipes were actually sent in by farmers' wives around the country. The result is a book that contains some very old and very regional recipes. I wonder whether some are ever cooked anywhere any more. They have wonderful titles: Sussex Heavies (which I think are pronounced as in heaving up a weight rather than 'heavy' as in the weight itself), Lemon Dainty, Shearing Cake, God's Kitchel Cake, How D'You Do Cake, Huffed Chicken.

A great proportion of the recipes embody the very essence of thrift, using produce that would have been easily available to the farmer's wife and making a small amount of meat go a long and satisfying way. One dish that took my eye is baking in the oven now: Cheshire Fidget Pie, made with layers of apple, onion and chopped bacon covered with a pastry crust. Why 'fidget' I wonder? We'll try it later today and I'll post the recipe if it is worth sharing.


Yaakov Kirschen said...

heavies as in heaving up??
what is THAT about?
love your haimish blog
Dry Bones
Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

Baleboosteh said...

LOL! The recipe doesn't sound that bad but you never know with English cooking. A 'haimish blog' - thank you for the compliment. Fantastic cartoons!