Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Auntie's Cook Books

As a young woman my mother left home (which was not a happy one) and found lodgings with a Methodist minister and his wife. Childless themselves, they took her into their hearts as well as their home and became "Auntie" and "Uncle" to her. For my brother and myself Auntie and Uncle were grandparents in all but name and dearly beloved. They both died over thirty years ago, but I still miss them badly.

Sorting through my mother's bookshelves last week we unearthed two old and battered cook books that were Auntie's. The first is a tatty memo book with recipes handwritten in pencil. The second is the A.B.C. Cookery Book, a small book held together with tape, published in Blackburn, Lancashire, in 1928. Both are full of simple recipes - old-fashioned home cooking (my strong point), not fancy dishes for entertaining (I don't go there!). What a joy it will be to keep memories alive through this special link between Auntie's kitchen and mine.

Here ia recipe from Auntie's notebook, to whet your appetite ...

Shrewsbury Biscuits
(or cookies, if you speak American! I chose this recipe because my mother used to live with Auntie and Uncle in Shrewsbury - home of Cadfael, Ellis Peters' monk detective.)

4 oz (½ cup) butter
4 oz (½ cup) sugar
little lemon rind or 2 oz (¼ cup) currants
1 egg
about 8 oz (2 cups) flour
pinch salt

Beat butter and sugar to cream. Add lemon rind or currants. Add beaten egg and flour alternately. Form into paste, Turn out on floured board, roll out thinly, cut, put on greased tin. Bake in moderately hot oven 10-15 minutes.


Mary G said...


I LOVE Shrewsbury biscuits! I tend toward the Anglophile and love many things y'all make over there (especially the sweets!). I'm going to be copying this recipe and checking your cookery blog often! Thanks for doing this.

Karen E. said...

What a wonderful, touching story and legacy.

Romany said...

How exciting to find those recipes!

Kathryn, I've bought some nice recipe boxes and have started to copy out, by hand, some of our family favourites for the children.

When they leave home (if?) they will have a box of recipes of food they know they like and in my handwriting.

Illegible though it tends to be, I hope it will be a nice reminder of me in years to come.


Alice said...

What a beautiful legacy now lives in you! Thank you for sharing this with us!