Monday, 18 January 2010

Great Granny Rowan's Cook Book and the Hairy Bikers

I've been watching the Hairy Bikers: Mum's Know Best on BBC2 or the iPlayer if I missed it. I got me thinking, I remember my Gran using a really old tattered hard-covered A5 notebook, nothing like a moleskine but one of those with the black cover and a red binding, casebound i think they call it. Anyway to me, back then it looked ancient as things do when your young. Well it got me think where was that notebook/cookbook?

My Gran is no longer with us and hasn't been for a long time now. I should probably explain it was my Mum's Mum. The maternal side of the family. My mum comes from a big family, the book could be anywhere, lost even.

Well I phoned my Mum and asked the question, steeling myself for, "I don't know" or "Well it could be your Aunt such and such or Auntie whoever" or the dreaded "I have no idea, I don't think anyone has it.". To my eternal surprise my Mum informed me that she now had the cookbook. I couldn't believe it.

However I my Mum enlightened me to the fact that the book wasn't my Gran's but my Mum's Gran's. Great Granny Rowan. It makes the book even older than I thought instead of being from the 1930's onwards, it now pushes it back to about the 1900's and probably older for some of the recipes.

I asked if I could get it and was told in no uncertain terms NO. Fair enough, as seemingly it's more than just a cookbook. It's a wee part of family history. It has poems and a few small love letters in it, not just recipes as I had always thought. However I have been allowed to borrow it. For a short time any how. The question is do I just copy the contents to scan them into the laptop? Should I transfer them to something like a moleskin? Start my on resource of recipes. Probably a better idea to that. I don't a laptop is to compatible with a kitchen cooking explosion! Easier to wipe down a notebook or moleskine.

Anyhow back to the book.

The notebook is stuffed full of recipes for cakes, puddings, jams, chutneys, furniture polish, all-sorts and not of the liquorice variety. Yes, furniture polish, I did say furniture polish. It's like a household manual. Full of little time saving and what would now be money saving ideas. Most of all though it's food, food and glorious food. Feed me.

I look that most of the instructions are either written in pencil or fountain pen but most of all the fact that there is more than one recipe for each cake, pudding, jam or chutney. Not only that but it's Mrs McFarlaine's Lemon Pie or Moira's Plum tart. Not just her on recipes but others too. Obviously sitting round at afternoon tea and swapping ideas and methods. It's such a great link to the past.

I can't wait to try one but I'm not much of a baker, sweet things and cakes are not my thing. I may try one of the chutneys. If anyone is interested I'll post a list of the recipes that are in the notebook and if they're some you fancy then I'll post the ingredients list and the instructions. Let me know by way of a comment.

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