Thursday, December 7, 2023
HomeFarmlifeWill's World: Brawn, brains and different classic vittles

Will’s World: Brawn, brains and different classic vittles

Simply earlier than Christmas in 1935, Farmer’s Weekly printed Farmhouse Fare, a e-book composed totally of recipes despatched to the journal over time by readers.

The primary version bought greater than 310,000 copies, and the following two, printed in 1945 and 1950, bought many extra.

One of many 1945 editions was purchased by my grandmother, who paid 3s 6d (slightly below 18p in decimal forex) for it.

Judging by the well-thumbed pages, and the various notes added in her handwriting, she definitely acquired her cash’s value from it.

See additionally: 12 nice reasonably priced Christmas items for farming households

In regards to the writer

Will Evans

Farmers Weekly Opinion author

Will Evans farms beef cattle and arable crops throughout 200ha close to Wrexham in North Wales in partnership together with his spouse and oldsters.

How I want I may have a slice of her chocolate cake and a cup of tea along with her now.

Even in the event you’re not notably into cooking, the e-book is a pleasure to learn from a social historical past perspective. It begins off with an intro from Mary Day of Farmers Weekly, who explains the premise of all of it.

Old book cover

© Will Evans

“From farmhouse and cottage kitchens all around the British Isles, girls have despatched us these recipes.

“Some they’ve invented as they cooked for their very own households; some have been an inheritance from their moms and grandmothers. 

“However these are dishes which have stood the check of cooking not in mannequin kitchens, or by skilled cooks, however by coal and oil and peat and wooden fires – in addition to by gasoline and electrical energy – within the properties of our personal countryside.”

Speak about evocative, I can virtually scent bread baking simply studying the phrases.

By the e-book

It’s additional added to by the fairly formidable-sounding Mrs Arthur Webb, who states:

“We who’ve gathered and chosen these recipes from each county within the kingdom are proud to current the nation housewife as she is seldom seen – at work in her kitchen, busy with the instruments of her commerce.

“Few of us won’t be taught an amazing deal by trying over her shoulder.”

I’ve no foundation for this assumption in any respect, however I’m certain Mrs Arthur Webb would have given you a sound thrashing with a ladle in the event you dared to say something lower than complimentary about her oxtail soup.

But it surely’s the recipes themselves that basically captured my curiosity, primarily as a result of lots of them simply aren’t seen on our tables anymore.

Previous Devonshire rabbit brawn, anybody?

“Begin off by placing two pig’s toes in a saucepan with chilly water, cowl and boil gently earlier than including a rabbit which has been ready and soaked in salt water for half an hour to whiten the flesh.”

You get the thought.

Possibly you’d want a plate of braised sheep’s tongues? Or in the event you don’t fancy that tonight, a pleasant slice of lamb-tail pie, created from severed tails with the wool scalded off, and stewed with carrot and onion. Scrumptious.

Or maybe Somerset rook pie with figgy pastry is extra to your liking? “Bake the rooks, which will need to have been skinned, utilizing solely the legs and breast, as all different components are bitter.”

The Wurzels by no means talked about chowing down on this regional delicacy with their cider, did they.

Waste not, need not

I jest, in fact. But it surely’s a reminder not solely of how a lot our diets have modified over time, but in addition that meat was scarce again then, and losing something was seen as a horrible sin.

I’m additionally certain that our grandmothers would flip their noses up at a lot of the extremely processed and unhealthy garbage we put into our our bodies today.

So, with that in thoughts, I’m off to cook dinner a calf’s head pie for my kids’s dinner. Possibly I’ll wait to inform them what it’s till after they’ve eaten it, although.



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