I have dozens of cookery books ranging from enormous glossy productions through to very tatty coverless pamphlets.
When I say tatty, I really do mean worn, ragged, messy. Pre-loved small productions.
I have spent many more happy hours poring over these booklets, than I have ever spent with the modern ones, no matter how beautiful they may be.
I cannot but admire the way the women who contributed the recipes seem to have been able to feed many from so very little. Necessity, I guess.
Food safety was also a problem.
As these two tips illustrate:
To make sure that all tinned goods are non-poisonous remove contents into a basin and leave about 3 tablespoonfuls of syrup or gravy (which ever it may be) in the tin. Place a sixpence into the tin, place on the stove, and let it come to the boil for about three minutes. Remove from the stove, take out the sixpence. Should it have turned black you will know the food is poisonous: otherwise it is all right.
When the tins are once opened the contents should be immediately poured out, or emptied into a china dish. This precaution applies to fish, meats or fruit. To test on opening and emptying the tin, plunge into the contents a bright steel knife. Let it remain a few moments when, if copper be present in the smallest degree it will be deposited on the blade. Such food always discard.
There are lots more of these hints and tips, but I thought I would leave you with a sandwich recipe.
Often I pick out a savoury dish, but today I have chosen something sweet...
A cupful of glace cherries, 1/4 cupful of orange juice, and as many round crackers as required. Chop the cherries, adding the orange juice, gradually, and mix together. Spread a layer on each cracker, press together, decorate with a cherry on top.
I won't be trying this one out either, just the thought of it makes my teeth ache.
Here is a photograph, taken last night, when Sparky and Toby got cosy together.
Remarkable when you think that just six or seven months ago Sparky was a hissing, spitting, semi-feral cat, who had been found living wild and was rescued by the Cats Protection League. She had been in their care for about 8 or 9 months and wasn't likely to be re-homed very quickly because every time she was viewed she hid in a cardboard box and spat at everyone.
We wanted a feral cat to keep the rats and mice down around this place, we really didn't want a lap cat...
Toby, on the other hand has always wanted a cat friend. Our previous cats have all bullied him. For some reason Sparky has taken to him.
All is well. Friendship has blossomed. Long may it continue!