Isn’t she lovely? That’s what your average, English Daily Telegraph reader looked like circa 1950. All dolled up and making homemade chips (or French fries, if she had been in a North American kitchen). That apron is a miracle against the forces of gravity, the way it stays up. Must be from starch. Could it be potato starch? That would be handy, since she probably has a lot of that around. Just wipe your hands on the apron to transfer more starch.
And there are some really good recipes, too. Canadian Sweet Cucumber Pickle – which amused me, because as far as I know, we in Canada are not especially known for our cucumber pickles, sweet or otherwise. Mock Mango Chutney – using plums. Why not call it Plum Chutney?
Savoury dishes include Celery Nut Balls (oh dear), and Dumpling Stew (oh dear again). Kipper Salad and Green Pea Sandwiches. Hmmm. Let’s move along to the next course, shall we?
Things do start to pick up at dessert (or “for pudding,” I suppose I should say – I love calling dessert pudding, it sounds so hopeful and cakey and – stodgy in a lovely way, doesn’t it?). Here we run into Shortbread Meringues for example – that’s a good idea! And Joy Cake, too! Who could resist a cake that is full of Joy? (Not me, unless the Joy in question is the dish-washing liquid, in which case, thanks but no thanks).
For the Shortbread
2 oz. margarine
1 1/2 oz sugar
Few drops almond, lemon or vanilla flavouring if liked.
4 oz flour
For the Meringue:
1 white of egg
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs caster [sic] sugar
Beat the fat and the sugar together until they resemble thick cream; add flavouring to taste. Gradually knead in the sifted flour until it makes one solid lump. Roll out to abut1/2 inch thick, cut in small rounds about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, place on a greased tin and prick with a fork.
To make the meringue, beat the white of egg and salt together until the mixture stands up in a point when beater is sharply withdrawn. This will take several minutes’ sharp beating (rotary beater best). Add sugar gradually by lightly stirring it in.
Place one heaped teaspoonful of the meringue mixture on each round of shortbread, slightly flatten mixture over three-parts of the shortbread. Place half a glacé cherry in middle of each. bake in a very slow oven. Can be placed in warm oven after all other cooking has been withdrawn, and left, with gas turned down very low, until cakes are deep cream colour and meringue sets firm.
6 oz. self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 dessertspoonfuls dried eggs (used dry)
1 Tb sugar (or less)
2 Tbs marmalade
4 oz. golden syrup
4 oz. sultanas
1/4 pint milk
Sift flour, baking powder and dried egg together. Add sugar, marmalade, warmed syrup and fruit. Mix all with the milk to a soft dough. Put in a greased tin and bake in a moderate oven 3/4 hour (375 deg. F; gas No. 5).
Did you notice up there in the first recipe how you are supposed to use a rotary beater for those egg whites? That is hard work! Apron lady must have biceps of steel. No need for the Bow Flex in 1950!
And as for Joy Cake, it must have been thought up by someone who was crazy about dried eggs. Or maybe when you make it you are really happy that you are using up all the stuff in your pantry, that must be it.