Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Some foodie memories

Looking at some of my cookbooks over the weekend I came across my folder with recipes I've collected over the years - you know the kind, bits cut out of magazines, hastily written recipes from the tv, recipes passed on by others, and it occurred to me after yesterday's post that a lot of what I have saved have memories of their own, and I'd like to share them with you.

First of all there's a card index version of a quiche lorraine that I wrote down in 1969 just before my wedding. A colleague Jean whom I worked with passed it on to me. Being a very naive soon-to-be housewife I was trying to gather recipes together to impress my new husband. Jean and I became good friends and have kept in touch over the years. We had a reunion in London last year with another friend Grace where we re-lived our own workplace memories of the 60s.

Next there's a recipe hand-written for me by my late Mum. She used to work as a dinner lady at my primary school during the 1950s and one of our favourite 'afters' was chocolate crunch. After she left her job she spent many years trying to track down this recipe and the result is as close as you could get to the original. We girls loved it that our mum worked at our school and served our dinners. What memories this recipe evokes!

Then there's some recipes for chocolate chip cookes and peanut butter cookies given to me by a lovely friend Eileen. I was a young mum living in a new neighbourhood and didn't know anyone. An American couple with two children moved in temporarily a few doors away. Both being lonely we soon got to know each other and spent most mornings having a gossip and a coffee. We both enjoyed baking and hence she gave me these recipes written on her yellow scribble pad. We became such good friends as did our children but she had to return to her home in New Jersey.What a sad day that was. We kept in touch with letters for a time but sadly have now lost touch. That was in 1979, before the internet, e-mails and good phone connections.But who knows one day we might catch up again.

A recipe for an All Bran loaf was hastily written down from the tv on the back of a receipt for a pair of Clark's shoes bought for my 4 year old daughter in 1977 for the princely sum of £4.49, a lot of money then.

This BeRo book dates back to 1979 and was introduced to me by my friend Eileen. I have newer versions but somehow cannot throw this one out. Although the pages are splattered with fat, covered in flour, have ripped corners, stained and smudged print, it is has treasured memories of various cooking moments for occasions over the years.

A fruit cake recipe was given to me by my friend Ellen many years ago. We used to holiday in Eastbourne when the children were young as Mr M's parents lived that way. One holiday we met up with a lovely couple Ellen and Norman and their two children and spent every day on the beach with them as well as meeting up at the pub in the evening. On the final day we said our goodbyes and never thought we'd see them again. The following year, same two weeks, same spot on the beach by the pier we were both absolutely surprised and gobsmacked to be sitting next to them again! We have been firm friends ever since and still meet up on occasions. That was in 1983.

There are still many snippets to revisit but too many for now. Who'd have thought that my little recipe binder would have evoked so many memories.


  1. oh could you possibly post the recipe for the school chocolate crunch.

  2. That's a fantastic collection. Like you I have handwritten recipies from the early days of my marriage. Some of the ingredients really make me cringe now... what WAS I doing making a fancy dessert with DREAM TOPPING..???!!!!! Luv Jx

  3. Your collection sounds just like mine and looking through them shows me just how differently we cook now. My Mum never had a single cook book except for a 'Bero' baking book which I still use today - very battered and coming apart - but I treasure it.

  4. I have two old BeRo books both tattered and splashed and I still use them and tucked into their pages are handwritten notes and recipes. I remember my mother having a brown and sepia coloured one when I was a child and I don't think she used any other baking cook book:)

  5. Thank you for giving me an award and for visiting my blog.I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you and say a huge thanks. It's hard to get time on the computer without others standing over me wanting to use it!
    I am dreadful at writing things on snips of paper, but am starting to get them put away properly into a recipe folder I was given as a gift.
    Lisa x

  6. What lovely memories, like you I have lots of recipes garnered from various sources and I also have several versions of the Be-Ro cookery book from the 1930s on. I really like them, the recipes are nice, straightforward British cooking which suits me fine.

  7. Hello there I have come over from Rosie at Corners of my Mind when I saw you mention the book about canal walks then I saw the fabric!! Do you know who makes the one that you managed to find? I can't believe the magazine didnt want to boost their editors sales of her fabric!!

    I love your blog and shall come back to read backwards...........Can you tell me the name of the book please?

    1. Hello Catherine, thank you for your comments. The fabric is lovely isn't it? It is made by Michael Miller Fabrics and is called French Post. The book is Canal Walks by Julia Bradbury and you can get it on Amazon for £6.99. There are some other more localised walks ie The South, Midlands etc. too many to mention. Good luck and thanks again.


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