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October 16, 2012

I have another house sitting task today awaiting a delivery for the work my son is doing on their new house. I’m not complaining – I can’t help with the knocking down walls type renovation so it’s one of the few ways I can contribute at the moment!

It also gives me chance to go through my paperwork and have a sort out – with one of the food channels on in the background – and when that’s completed I can catch up on some more food blogs. There are so many good ones I’m not going to say which are my favourite yet as I’m still finding them.

I have my cookery books all over the house – well I’m sure I’m not alone to say recipe books are my preferred bedtime reading – but I do have my current favourites. River Cottage Veg, Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries and Nigellissima. Mostly because they cook using the type of ingredients I have in the house anyway.

Which brings me to my point. In sorting through the little book shelf in my kitchen yesterday I found three little retro books. Mum gave me the Be-ro and Cake a Pie booklets when I first left home in the 70’s (along with a full set of Supercook books which were built up from a weekly magazine).

The Stork one has a handwritten note in the front from my Domestic Science teacher which says “Presented to Julie Mckelvey for preparation of the most innovative cheese dish”! I can even remember the dish I made was Gouda Rice Salad although it must have been 40 years ago. English and cooking were my passion even then and I was due to go to the Elizabeth Gaskell College in Manchester to be a Domestic Science teacher myself after my A levels until the stupidity of youth stepped in and my career took a different tack.

Luckily my decision to get into the workplace quicker paid off and I was able to work within a company where I had the opportunity to train as a journalist so another of my passions was fulfilled instead.

Retro cookery books

So back to the old books – I can’t believe the simplicity of the ingredients. We forget that our mums didn’t have the luxury of choice like we do. They had to manage on what was available locally and I grew up in a small village with only a butcher, baker, greengrocer and the arrival of the Co-operative was very exciting. But now there is a growing trend to want to shop back in that old style way. Local, seasonal and fresh – it’s what I’m about with regards to food.

The variety of different items that can be made from these little books with basic flour, sugar, fat and eggs just by the way they are put together is amazing.

Mine is the oldest Be-ro book but apparently it has been updated and reprinted many times and can be ordered here

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