People are very generous and often give me old cookbooks for which they no longer have a need. I really enjoy reading though them, the older they are the better.
Above all else, I love baking bread so always peruse the yeast cookery sections first. Often the recipes are accompanied by anecdotes or prose that speak of a by-gone era.
A case in point – a couple of days ago I came across a recipe for Anadama bread. The recipe introduction (in a 1961 Betty Crocker Cookbook) informs the reader that:
“The name comes from a New England fisherman whose lazy wife always served him cornmeal and mush and molasses. One day, tired of the same corn meal mush for dinner, he mixed it with flour and yeast and baked it as bread, saying “Anna damn her.”
Whether the story is true or not is immaterial, the recipe was just begging to be tried out. It appears to be a winner, this is how the loaf came out of the oven a little while ago.
In the background you can see bottles of fresh-made ginger beer.
A few days ago, a neighbour lent me his mother’s old hand-written cookbook.
In it I found a recipe for ginger beer: just mix, leave to stand for half an hour or so, then strain and bottle. None of that feed-the-plant palaver. Best of all, it contains fresh ginger. It will apparently be ready to drink in about five days.
The Anadama bread – we couldn’t wait for it to get cold, so I sliced it while it was still warm. The texture was very good indeed.
No doubt about the old recipes, they are the BEST.