MEMORIES FROM OLD COOKBOOKS
We all become a bit nostalgic around Christmas, especially when it comes to food. On of my favourite photos is of my mother making Kiss Biscuits with her grandchildren back in the 1980s. Katey and Graeme now have children of their own.
And who could forget White Christmas slice? Or the decorated ‘shape’ biscuits. We always had bells, trees and stars.
The White Christmas recipe was from the Women’s Weekly. Kiss Biscuits and the standard dough for ‘shapes’ appeared in virtually every cookbook going.
Oh the stirring of the Christmas pudding, and making a wish! Such an old tradition. Most people used a handwritten recipe handed down through the family.
Then the adding of the sixpences, the only reason we kids ate pudding!
THE COOKBOOK IN EVERY AUSSIE HOME
I was born and raised in Tasmania during the 1950’s, and the CWA cookbook fills me with nostalgia. On the back page is an advertisement for Duck River Butter; ‘If you’re not buying Duck River Butter isn’t it about time you started.’ Note the absence of a question mark… this was more command than suggestion. My dairy farmer father would have approved as he supplied cream to that very factory.
For many years my mother had a Lux fuel stove. We kids used to roast chestnuts on the top, ruining the black leaded surface! Miraculously, Mum could estimate the temperature simply by putting her hand near the oven door. We were so excited when Dad bought a Whirlpool electric stove, but then the kitchen was freezing…. so we had to buy a kerosene heater.
It was my older brother who bought my mother a Sunbeam mixmaster in the late 1950s, fulfilling a childhood promise. Goodness me, the number of sponge cakes and Christmas goodies that must have been whipped up in it over the next 30 odd years.
After making a tree-change to the Blue Mountains from Sydney 20 years ago the CWA cookbook became my standby, especially in winter when cooking is such a comforting activity. Inside are my mothers old favourites; Chocolate Simplicity Cake, Coffee Sponge, Raspberry Shortbread, Swiss Roll and my father’s favourite; Date and Walnut Cake;
DATE AND WALNUT CAKE
5 oz sugar
10 oz Self-raising flour
2 oz walnuts
¼ pint of milk
5 oz chopped dates.
METHOD – Cream butter and sugar, add the well beaten eggs gradually. Fold in sifted flour alternately with milk. Add dates and chopped walnuts. Bake in a greased ring tin (8”) in moderate oven for 40 minutes. When cold, ice top and sides with butter icing and decorate with chopped walnuts.
Childhood party treats are here too; Cream Lilies, Butterfly Cakes, and Rapidly Made Toffee For Children. We always made toffee when Mum and Dad were out, despite orders not to. We hid the often disastrous results, but a sticky kitchen floor was a giveaway!
My only regret is that, unlike my mother’s original copy, my own edition does not include the name and township of each contributor. Somehow Mum knew that a pavlova recipe supplied by Mrs D. Revell of Flowerdale would not fail. And in the unlikely event that it did, she could have dropped Mrs Revell an acerbic little note.
HERE’S ANOTHER NOSTALGIC STORY ABOUT TASMANIA. CLICK HERE
WHAT WAS YOUR MOTHER’S FAVOURITE CAKE RECIPE? DO LEAVE A COMMENT…OR SHARE A RECIPE!…IN THE BOX BELOW. THEN SCROLL DOWN AND COMPLETE THE ANTI-SPAM SUM.