The last time I went home, Mum gave me my Great-Grandmother's recipe books to copy out. My great-nan died in 1991, and I think she was about 80-odd back then. A lot of these recipes are very 'old-school'. Not only are they all the measurements written in the imperical system, but she has used a bigger variety of ingreadients that I would have given her credit. Or, as my mum put it "She was a woman who wasn't afraid of a frozen prawn."
My favourite is when you're looking through it and you see a recipe for "Mock chicken loaf." And do you know what the 'mock chicken' is??? It is rabbit. I can't help but wonder why she didn't just call it Rabbit Loaf.
She also uses Ox/beef tongue more than once, and she isn't afraid to use a sweet and sour sauce on anything.
I keep getting excited when I find something that I remember her cooking for us when we went to visit her. I rang Mum excitedly one night because I had found the Lemon Butter recipe. Now, did I like Lemon Butter? No, I did not. But, I can remember her keeping it in a glass jar, with plain cotton covering the lid of the jar, and it was just like being in her kitchen all over again. I still have not found her recipe for Powder Puffs, which she always made for my brother. It is vital I find this recipe as this was the GREATEST BISCUIT/DESSERT DISH EVER. When Mum told Scott and I that her Aunt had given her the books, we both mentioned the Powder Puffs in an excited breath. We have not had this treat for almost 20 years, and while I small part of me is sure it would never be the same as her, I am desperate to make this. It is so light and fluffy and they look exactly like the powder puffs grown-ups used to use on their faces. Except, Nanna D's powder puffs had jam and cream in them. (Real honest to goodness homemade jam!)
Mum asked me to write down the Rum Ball recipe when I found it, and unfortately for everyone, I am only into the second of 6 recipe books and I have already found 3 differnt rum ball recipes.
The hardest part of this is reading Nanna D's writing. She has very spidery writing, with loops an twirls in the oddest of places. The best part is reading Nanna D's writing. It's like she's right in the room, and she's about to give me a cooking lesson. Part of me just wants to start making cakes, and relishes and whatnot, and another part of me doesn't want to , in case they're not as good as I remember. I may have a try making her marble cake though - if only so I can say that I have made one from scratch and not just bought it at the supermarket.
I also still have her savoury recipe books to go through yet, which I am very excited about. I am trying to impove my diet by eating more fresh fruit and vegies, and I definately think trying things that were popular over 50 years ago will help there. I can see stews and pies in my future (No Ox tongue though. I do have lines I cannot cross.)
I gotta tell you, I think I"m having more fun reading the books than I would trying to recreate them.