Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mock Whitefish and Tried Favourites Cookery Book - Vintage Lane

This is one of my most treasured cookery books in my vintage collection. Given to me by a friend's grandma many years ago, it sparked my interest in collecting such books. There are tons of recipes that are easy to make and I truly love the funny little pieces of advice they found it so important to impart. These people think whisky will cure anything - I can deal with that kind of advice!

I was told that this was a wedding present received just before the owner moved to Australia to start her new life. She said she had no idea about cooking and homemaking, and this book was invaluable to her. I love how they could just write "Barnfoot House, Inverness" and post would reach them. Adorable.

A typical ad found within its pages. Never before have I heard of Ovaltine being the go-to remedy for digestive upsets. I thought it was just a drink you had before bedtime, or little candy pieces you had in your pocket and tried to eat surreptitiously in class.

The need for good, nourishing food, well cooked and tastefully served is the need of all ages. Amen!

A typical index page. There are many - this little teeny book is packed with hundreds of economical recipes.

A special extra found tucked away inside!

There is a whole vegetarian section with things like mock chicken cutlets, mock fish and various other things. I think it's fascinating, as not many people were into vegetarianism at this time. Mutton ruled and stuff was made from bits of pig that honestly should never be eaten. But vegetarian hare soup? Sounds crazy. If only I was brave enough to try it.

I'm not sure Bovril could make anything more delicious...

So much randomness.

A typical chapter title page.

Ok. Read the title. Then read the italics underneath. Please explain.

Improved out of all proportion. All proportion, people! That's a big call.

Have at it, kid. I'm not licking anything that's contained Creamola.

Om nom NOT.

Beef tea never fails to freak me out. You pretty much sit beef in lukewarm water and give that to the poor sod that's ill. Invalid cookery is usually terrifying.

Please lord, make me never ill.

Would this help you after a long day at the office?

EVEN FOR HEART FAILURE. It's not even real whisky and it will bring you back from the dead.

No water + cold baths + lettuce diet = one sad person with some poundage to lose.

DO NOT give your children tomato or for goodness' sake - or HOT buttered toast. Cold is fine. No summer city fruit. No pastries of every description. Sad life for kiddies.

So.... wanna make out?

A good and a bad way of drinking milk? Who knew? And I am woefully ignorant of the whole eat bread every time you drink milk thing.

What would be worse - being a child or being an "old person"? Either way you're eating cardboard.

The book has a ton of other stuff... miscellaneous kitchen tips (to sweeten rancid butter!), knitting notes, laundry work (washing lace and silk handkerchiefs!), how to make a barometer out of a cup of coffee and a lump of sugar (so MacGyver), and to drink vinegar and hold your arms over your head if you have hiccups.

Seriously, I need to make a run of several posts. This stuff is gold!

As for the recipe, I decided I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make something vegetarian. I guess it was the thing to do when war took all the good food and you were making stuff out of powdered egg. Mock whitefish sounded like the last thing I'd ever make normally, so I couldn't resist! And I actually quite liked it. I would cut it into strips next time though, and make it fish-finger (fishstick) style for Veggie Baby. It was very mild and crispy on the outside. I love finding cool old recipes and seeing that they still work!

1/2 pint milk, 2 oz rice flour, butter, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, 3 potatoes, egg

Bring to boil 1/2 pint milk and thicken with ground rice, to make a little stiffer than for rice mould (I've no idea how stiff that is meant to be, as I've never made a rice mould, but it stiffens up by itself to a reasonable thickness). Add a lump of butter, salt, a little grated onion and cook all together for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Boil 3 potatoes and put through masher, and while hot add to rice, or it will not set well. Pour into a dish to stiffen, and when quite cold, cut into slices, roll in egg and breadcrumbs, fry and serve with parsley sauce as a fish course. The mixture must be thick, as the frying softens the rice.

Dare me to make the vegetarian hare soup?


  1. Man, I love old books like this. Love the way they had to point out no wine, beer or cider for the kiddies. I have an old one called 'Cakes Men Like' - now there's an important one to own, hehe.

  2. The ingredients in the hare soup don't seem dreadful, taken individually, however not sure what they would taste like combined.

    As for the beef tea :gag:

  3. Yes, I DO dare you to make vegetarian hare stew. Gorgeous book. I'm currently reading "The Book of Household Management" by Mrs Isabella Beeton. I need to get me some servants! I'm well versed in how to 'handle' them now haha

  4. Gotta love old books. I have one of a similar age, The Universal Home Doctor. You can only begin to imagine!!!!!

  5. what a cool book!

  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite NigellaSeptember 22, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    I dare you to make it! I love reading these vintage cookery books. They come up some really funny advice or recipes at times. And I had no idea about the milk drinking either! :P

  7. Haha, yet they insist on no hot toast? And I seriously think I need Cakes Men Like... that is hilarious! 

    A while ago I posted this one, which is helpful if you're looking for a husband...;)

  8. Gagasaurus! I'm just wigged about cooking it all with water... where in the hell is the flavour?

  9. Haha I love that book. I've got one with a chapter called "Entertaining Without a Maid"...

  10. oh. my. god. I don't even want to know what it tells you to do!

    This one here has helpful pictures of nipple ulcers...

  11. They're so awesome :)

  12. We're so woefully ignorant!

  13. Wow, that is so like my 1941 copy of The Coronation Cookbook by the CWA! I love these lovely old books!

  14. What is "canary cream"? No, don't tell me. Oh, and vinegar does cure hiccups, no requirement to hold arms up necessary.
    I think you should give the soup a go, what could possibly go wrong??

  15. Loving this. Thank you for a wonderful walk through the past. xx


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