Wednesday, 25 April 2018



This book - from 1936 - was mentioned in the British Library talk the other night and, of course, I'm now aching for a copy of my own. How could anyone resist Picnic no 54: asparagus in French rolls, cold grouse and pickled plums, salad of lettuce hearts and caramel soufflé?
I'm much more interested in food from the past than today's gimmicky cookbooks, no matter how lavish. (I'm baking my way through this at the moment and everything has turned out brilliantly.) But I admit I was tempted by this new book at an event at Anthropologie on Regent Street last night ... I wavered but didn't cave in!

13 comments:

Lesley Anne said...

Dear Mary

I am so envious of your adventures in food. I was hoping that the BL might have some sort of exhibition of cookery books, as I am in town this weekend (first time in ages) but it doesn't appear to. (Sorry about that hanging preposition) Mrs Leyel's book looks amazing and rather different to my Mother's 1950s books which were full of things in aspic (which must have melted into a ghastly slurry on a picnic) and hard boiled eggs, two things that I still won't eat! I would, however, like a copy of the narrow little Bero recipe book full of homely cakes and tarts that she used all the time.

Mary said...

What a shame they didn't put on even a small display, Lesley Anne - but there's an interesting programme of talks. I agree with you re: aspic - I just couldn't! But I love the weird colour photography in those old books. Hope you have a good trip to London!

Cosy Books said...

Pickled plums?! No doubt this is a book filled with things to delight but I'm not tempted by pickled plums....just no.

Mary said...

I'm sure that would be quite a sweet, jammy pickle, Darlene - nice with ham? But if you're not tempted, we won't force you!

Veronica Cooke said...

Love the book cover! I also like the sound of pickled plums - I have developed a passion for plums of late. I find my taste buds or taste in general has changed as I've got older. My sweet tooth has got sweeter but I've gone off both bananas and cinnamon. Weird.

Mary said...

I'm the opposite, Veronica - from being a person who never, ever used salt, now I'm a salt addict - which probably isn't good. And much less of a sweet tooth than I used to have. Having said that, I made a honey/grapefruit/pistachio/polenta cake today -but took it to book group share.

Sue said...

I do so agree with you about today’s cookery books being gimmicky. There’s something very comforting about picking up an old cookery book and knowing that there won’t be a single recipe requiring sweet potatoes, quinoa or miso. I recently acquired a signed copy of Katie Stewart’s Times Cookery Book which at 46 years old has recipes which are old enough to be free from modern fads but recent enough not to have become historical. Jocasta Innes’ The Pauper’s Cookbook from 1971 is one of my most used cookbooks.

Mary said...

I don't mind sweet potatoes, Sue (and they've been around for centuries!) but if the recipe says pomegranate molasses, I'm out! I used to love Katie Stewart recipes in Woman's Journal.

Pam said...

I've just finished "Long Live Great Bardfield" and LOVED it. Thanks so much for your recommendation. Of course I found it particularly interesting having been, also at your recommendation, to the Ravilious exhibition at the Dulwich Gallery a couple of years ago. How does it feel to have such influence?

Her style is amazingly detached, isn't it, considering the fairly momentous things she experienced?

Mary said...

I'm flattered, Pam! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and the exhibition. I expect it's too far for you, but if any southerners are reading this there's another excellent exhibition on at Compton Verney with a few weeks still to run; I caught it last year at Eastbourne.

Tirzah is amazingly detached; he wouldn't have lasted long married to me!

Pam said...

Yes, alas, our visits to London are currently exclusively for baby-cuddling purposes - I don't mean that I don't like cuddling babies, because I do, but it does mean that we won't be able to visit exhibitions for the next considerable while, I don't think. No idea where Compton Verney is but it doesn't sound handy for Edinburgh...

Pam said...

... and he wouldn't have lasted long married to me either!

Mary said...

Warwickshire, Pam, so not at all handy for Edinburgh - and not that easy from London either.