Could this take its place as the Unmitigated Cook Book? I was reminded of its existence in the Ashley Archive this morning when my sister-in-law and I had a meaningful discussion about the making of cheese straws (called cheese fingers here), and she was reminded of this little book being given by my mother to her new daughters-in-law at their 1960's weddings. Fishing it out I was reminded that its boldly-lettered cover loomed large in my childhood. Mum's copy had a hole punched in the top left hand corner to facillitate its hanging by a piece of string to the side of her speckled-blue and white enamelled New World gas cooker. It was just at head height, so I would thumb through the baking-stained pages in order to point out what I'd like for my tea, just like Miss Be-Ro on the cover. Spiced Buns, Granny Loaf, Custard Tarts and Dropped Scones that, when told about them, I assumed had to be hurled across the kitchen after baking, much as I had done across the garden when first presented with a plate of tripe. All the recipes revolved around the use of Be-Ro Self-Raising Flour, produced by Thomas Bell & Sons in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Nottingham. It was with great excitement that I first spotted their big brown Albion lorries out on the road, presenting flours to the post-war housewives of England. Be-Ro, and the cook book, is remarkably still available to those who like to get a bun in the oven after a Sunday roast.
Philip Roth: End of a chapter
2 days ago