pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


I asked your Dad to get me the big stepladders out today, so that I could search the top rows of shelves in the dressing room - you guessed it Jonny, I was looking for some particular books amongst all the boxes.

I was disappointed in my search, however I found treasure anyway.  I came across this long forgotten handwritten recipe book.
Duck and hare both feature in it  - sorry boys!

The handwriting changes, probably with age, from easy to read through to difficult to decipher, but then that is half the fun - it is like learning to read a whole different language. 
Recipe one is for Mock Turtle  (calves head) - very popular in those days!  We won't be trying that one.

Funnily enough there is a recipe for Elder Syrup - very similar to the Elderberry Rob which I made a couple of days ago.  This recipe is much more fun though. It is suggested that it should be mixed with rum and taken warm to treat a cold.  Must try that one!

What I love about books like this is all the history.  I will never know the woman who carefully wrote and indexed this all those years ago.  Did she get the book when she was first married, did she live on a farm, in a village, or was she a town dweller?  

Her recipes ranged from Lobster through to the aforementioned calves head, complete with tongue and brain, biscuits, puddings, wines, preserves and vinegars, as well as household cleaning recipes.  

We ate differently in those days and the value of some things which we now consider a luxury was far less, so I am unable to judge what sort of kitchen she kept, was she well off, or poor?  

Whoever she was, I hope she had a happy life.  Unfortunately I don't even have a name for her, but to be able to read her handwriting and her recipes is a real privilege.  

So, Jonny, it was wonderful to see you and to speak to you this morning!  Don't forget to let me have some photographs - either that or get that blog going.  Good luck with the 'observation' on Tuesday.

Lots of love,



  1. I'd love to see this Elaine!... love the 'new look' blog x

  2. How exciting to go through someone else's hand written recipe book. You have to wonder if her family appreciated her cooking and if they ever looked for the book. Lovely post, enjoyed my visit today.

  3. I hope they appreciated her efforts, some of the recipes look terribly time consuming given that she didn't have any modern kitchen aids!
    Dom, just give me a call and we can arrange to have a coffee while you look through the book. I am a bit hobbled at the moment, which is rather a bore, otherwise I would offer to show it to you while I look at the new and improved Belleau Kitchen!!


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