Much More than Cook Books

IMG-20130314-00172(My own recipe for simple cherry cake below!)

We’ll Eat Again by Marguerite Patten is a collection of wartime recipes including tips on preserving and ‘making do’, to save and use food wisely. The main meal types covered are soups, main meals, vegetable dishes, puddings, snacks and supper dishes, and cakes & baking.  Each chapter begins with little nuggets of information (or dare I say; food for thought) from the wartime period. For example:

Cakes and baking

“We could all manage without cakes, biscuits and scones but these helped to makes meals more enjoyable. But the Ministry of Food used to remind us that it was important that all the family ate protective foods first before they enjoyed these home-made treats.”

IMG-20130314-00173

What makes We’ll Eat Again so good?

  • Even though this book explains how cooking was done during the Second World War, when  times were tough and food was rationed, he recipes and tips can still be applied in today’s kitchen.
  • The photos and illustrated adverts from the era add a certain charm to the book.
  • The book includes recipes for American pin wheels, honeycomb toffee, cheese pancakes, eggless sponge pudding, and many more delicious fancies.IMG-20130314-00175

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook is so much more than just recipes.  From the introduction:

“Her book is more a memoir than a manual, an invitation to the reader to share the eccentric, eventful life she shared with Gertrude Stein.”

IMG-20130314-00178

The original book was put together in 1953 when Alice was 75.  Being on a strict diet due to an attack of pernicious jaundice, Alice could only write about food.  She was an American living in Paris, associating with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse.  Chapters such as “Little known French Dishes suitable for America and British Kitchens”  “Food in French Homes” and “Food in the United States in 1934 and 1945” show how both France and America influenced her culinary creations.

IMG-20130314-00179

 IMG-20130314-00180What makes The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook so good?

  • “One day when Picasso was to lunch with us…” in the chapter; Dishes for Artists, Alice describes how she cooked and prepared fish for Picasso.  The method is more prose than recipe and includes a strange theory about cooking fish, which she had heard from her grandmother: “…fish, having lived in its life in water, once caught should have no further contact with the element in which it had been born and raised.”
  • The book includes Recipes for liberation fruit cake, Ibiza soup, gourmet’s potatoes and most famously, hashish fudge (also known as Alice B. Toklas brownies).  Alice writes: “Obtaining the cannabis may present certain difficulties…”

Now for my own recipe: simple cherry cake.

  • 150g self-raising flour (I used wholemeal but white is even nicer)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150g sugar (brown works best)
  • 150g butter
  • 150g  glace cherries (I use French glace cherries)
  • 75g ground almonds
In one bowl mix the flour and eggs.
In one bowl mix the flour and eggs.
In another bowl mix the butter and sugar.  I like to melt the butter in the microwave first.
In another bowl mix the butter and sugar. I like to melt the butter in the microwave first.
Mix the two together.  Then   mix the almonds with cherries.  I sometimes cut them in half.
Mix the two together. Then mix the almonds with cherries. I sometimes cut them in half.
Mix it all together, then scoop all the mixture into a baking tin.  Round tins are fine but loaf tins work best.
Mix it all together, then scoop all the mixture into a baking tin. Round tins are fine but loaf tins work best.
For extra yumminess and great presentation, sprinkle brown sugar on the top.   Place in oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
For extra yumminess and great presentation, sprinkle brown sugar on the top. Place in oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
After 20 minutes turn down to 150 for another 5 minutes or when the cake is ready (stick a knife in.  If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.Enjoy ;-)
After 20 minutes turn down to 150 for another 5 minutes or when the cake is ready (stick a knife in. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
Enjoy 😉
Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Much More than Cook Books

  1. Nice post! “We’ll Eat Again” sounds like a very interesting cookbook. I love it when other types of books (besides regular cookbooks) have recipes in them. I’m actually working on a series of children’s books, “Good King Cookery,” that will include recipes. It will be about a king who rules his kingdom entirely through cooking for his subjects.
    Thank you for the cherry cake recipe. I will let you know when I’ve tried it and how it turns out.
    By the way, in addition to having cherries in it, “A New Coat For Anna” is also about World War II. I’d say this is a perfect time to post a review of that book! Would you like to do it? Can I do it as a guest blogger? Or do you want to just post a link to it when I do it on my blog? I’ll post a link to this post, too.
    Please tell me what you would like to do.

    • I’ve never had a guest blogger before, but it sounds interesting. I’ve seen other blogs who have had guest bloggers. Do you know what I would have to do to set you up as a guest?

      • I’m new to blogging, so I could be wrong about this, but I think all you need to do is announce that you’re going to have a guest blogger and have me post the review. I can introduce myself as the guest blogger as part of the post.
        In case there’s something else we’d have to do, one of us can google “how to have/be a guest blogger on WordPress” or something like that. I’ll let you know what I find out.

        • I googled “how to be a guest blogger on WordPress,” but all I got were tips on being and managing guests. This makes me think I was right about there not being anything fancy we’d have to do beforehand. This goes along with a book I read that has a chapter on blogging. The book says all bloggers have to do is ask one another about being guests on each other’s blogs, and if they’re both interested, do it!
          I highly recommend this book to any fellow writer. It’s called “Crafting the Personal Essay” by Dinty W. Moore, and while it’s specifically on writing personal essays, it would be very helpful to any writer, because it has tips on both essay writing in general and on writing many different types of personal essays. I guarantee any writer would find at least one chapter in it helpful. It is one of the best books on writing I’ve read so far.
          I put “A New Coat For Anna” on hold at the library, and if you’re interested in having me as a guest blogger, I will let you know when I have it checked out and can start working on the review. Please let me know if you are interested.

          • Okay, great! I will be checking out “A New Coat For Anna” on Wednesday, and I can start working on the review after that. I wanted to let you know, though, that I may want to wait to be a guest blogger until I have made some major changes to my blogs. I may even want to merge them into one, creating instead a basic literary blog that includes my writing and focuses on children’s literature and fairy tales. I will give you more information once I have further considered what I am going to do, and I will also ask other people following my blog(s) what changes they would like to see. I will definitely let you know when I am ready to be a guest blogger.

          • Hi Hannah! I have pretty much decided what I am going to do with my blogs. I will transfer everything from my fairy tale blog onto my writing blog. Then I will categorize everything accordingly and rename my writing blog as a general literary blog. (Probably “Lily On the Rampage,” after one of my essays). My new blog will include my writing, everything I’ve been doing with fairy tales, and discussions of everything else I read, including, of course, children’s books. I am hoping this will get me more blog followers as well as more variation in what I read.
            Do you think that’s a good idea? Please let me know if there is anything you would suggest. Thank you for following my blogs, and I hope you like the new one!

          • Hi, that sounds like a good idea. I’m kind of doing something similar. I want to close my children’s poetry website because I’m not maintaining it very well but before I do I want to gradually transfer everything over to my blog.
            I like the choice of name! That sounds good. It was only when I started blogging that I realized people use cool titles instead of their own names like I’ve done! I thought of changing the name a few times. Maybe one day.
            Have you thought about adding different pages to your blog? i.e. on the one blog you would have a page for fairytales, a page for essays etc.

          • Hi Hannah. I wanted to let you know I have created my new blog. It’s called “Story Fairy’s Library” (“Lily On the Rampage” might have been misleading). There’s nothing on it yet, but soon I will be posting all the old content from my fairy tale blog on it. Please start following it (here is the web address: http://thestoryfairyslibrary.wordpress.com/), and as I post the content of my fairy tale blog and later my writing blog, please let me know which posts you like best and what you would like to see more of in the future. That will help me decide what some of the first new posts on Story Fairy’s Library should be. Thanks, and take care! 🙂

  2. Can this be the ‘killer cherry cake’ as mentioned in our earlier conversation on ‘how to write good’, Hannah?! Happy to accept a sample in the post if you need a second opinion as to it’s killer-ness… G

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s