Category Archives: Cake

Retro Food For Modern Times: Good Cooking for (Almost) Everyone (1981)

Hello there, time to take a look into a new book.

Welcome to Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking for Everyone.

Good Cooking For Everyone by Mary Meredith 002

Let me just start with a little quibble.  When i think of 1981, I think of this:

1981’s finest.

And not so much this:

Mary Meredith 001

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at Mary here.  This book was first published in 1970 and this was a probably a perfectly acceptable photo back then.  Eleven years later, you’d think that maybe the publishers could have forked out for a new publicity photo.  Maybe one using that new technology of  colour.

The 500 “specially selected recipes” in this book do address a wide audience, if not exactly everyone.

In keeping with the Livvie theme above, there are sandwiches that would suit people watching their weight:

Lettuce and Lemon Sandwiches 001

And recipes for those who are most definitely not.

Mary calls this  “California Stuffed Forehock.” I prefer to think of it as “The Reason Elvis (Permanently) Left the Building”. The prunes in the recipe could explain why he was found on the toilet.

Californian Stuffed Forehock 001

Enough for 4 people or one bacon lovin’ popstar!

From The King, to proper royalty, Mary Meredith also provides us with a dainty dish to set before a king. Four and twenty blackbirds anyone?

Cutlet Pie

In fairness to Mary, it’s not actually blackbirds but a mix of lamb kidneys and cutlets.  In fairness to modern sensibility, I was staring at this picture wondering how to describe the sheer awfulness of a pie with bones in little bootees sticking out of it.  Mark looked at it over my shoulder. “You’re not making that are you?” he asked, sounding a little shaky.  I assured him I was not.  “Good” he said. “Because it looks fucking horrible.”  Description problem solved.

Then, there are recipes for people who want their cakes to look like footwear.  (Why? WHY???)

Shoe cake - who doesn't want to eat an old boot on their birthday!

Shoe cake – who doesn’t want to eat an old boot on their birthday!

And recipes for people who want to traumatise their children.  Never mind the chocolate-roll cats at the front, what are those weird shiny pink things with faces ? Apart from the stuff of nightmares?

Children's Party Food

Children’s Party Food

I did however manage to find one group of people for who Mary was not catering for.  I was searching the index of this book when, in the B’s,  I came across:

  • Baked Lemon Potatoes
  • Batch of scones

It’s an odd way of listing these items but there were corresponding entries under L, P and S so whilst kooky, they weren’t entirely random. (But again, maybe something that should have been corrected in the 1981 edition.)

I also noticed under M:

  • Making a jug of cocoa

Using this logic surely every recipe should be listed under M?

  • Making Lettuce and lemon sandwiches
  • Making Elvis Has Left The Building, etc.

And just to be really irritating there is no corresponding entry under C listing:

  • Cocoa, Making a jug of

I’m sorry cocoa drinkers of the world, I guess if you were of a logical mind in 1981 and wanted to find out how to make a jug of your favourite drink (without having to scan through 499 other recipes), you were S.O.L.

I’m spending the weekend with a jug of margaritas… it was going to be cocoa but the recipe was too damn hard to find!

So much for an alcohol free April!

Whatever your tipple, have a great week.

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Retro Food For Modern Times – The Party Cookbook (1971) – Part 1

We are suffering from a mini heatwave at the moment.  You know it’s hot when your candles melt before you even light them!

Bathroom Candles

It’s far too hot to turn on the stove, the oven, the toaster or even to move to the phone to order a pizza.  So, instead of cooking this week, I thought I might take a little stroll through Anne Marshall and Elizabeth Sewell’s  1971 work “The Party Cookbook.”  And why not?   If there is a hell, I’m already well on my way there, so what’s the harm in setting my dial to mock and taking a few steps closer to the flames….

I don’t even know where to start in this feast of rich pickings.  So I’m just going to let this picture speak for itself…because nothing screams party like this good time gal!

Elah Lowe's Luncheon Party

Elah Lowe’s Luncheon Party

This is Elah Lowe who wrote the Luncheon Party section of the book.  Elah’s menu for lunch consists of Chicken Cacciatore, Noodles, Pears Vinaigrette, Cheese and something called Malakoff which sounds a bit like a tiramisu.

Elah has this to say about her luncheon menu

“The following menu is suitable for a special person one has invited to lunch, for any group with a guest speaker or for a party of friends 1.  The luncheon suggested is light2 and interesting and can be prepared in advance, which is essential for the hostess who can then be with her guests.  She can be relaxed and entertaining, rather than hot and flustered, in the kitchen.3

  1.  So….pretty much any reason to hold a lunch then.
  2. Quiche and salad are light.  Chicken cacciatore and noodles?  Not so much.
  3. Elah might be good on lunches.  She’s not so good on grammar.  My understanding is that if you remove the clause separated by commas the sentence should stand.  So, that last sentence would read,  “She can be relaxed and entertaining in the kitchen”.  Hmm…presumably getting stuck into the cooking sherry and cracking a few gags for the benefit of the vegetables.  Meanwhile the guests in the dining room are trying not to reel from the shock of that wallpaper.  No wonder Elah’s holding out a chair, she’s probably used to people staggering and feeling faint as they walk into the room.  The curtains and matching table-cloth?  Are just putting out the fire with gasoline.

Moving on to another party girl, let’s have a look at the Morning Coffee Party.  This über babe is Enid Wells.

Enid Wells Morning Tea Party

Enid Wells Morning Coffee Party

Enid tells us that the hostess of the Morning Coffee Party needs to:

 “Make sure the coffee is piping hot.  Percolated coffee is preferred by most people.  Instant coffee is preferred by some people because of the short preparation time1.  For a Morning Coffee Party, the hostess should be prepared to serve percolated coffee.”

  1.  The shrunken head of the last person who served me instant coffee is now hanging on my wall along with my bow, my arrows and my machete.  Be afraid.

Enid also advises that:

“The food should be simple, varied in flavour, attractively presented but never elaborately decorated”

You got it there, sister.  Rarely have I seen two more atrociously decorated cakes than the ones in this picture.  What is going on with the cinnamon nut bun in the front?  Did Enid just throw the icing at it?  Also, it’s lopsided to say the least.  The icing on the gingerbread in the mid-ground also leaves a lot to be desired….that’s one wobbly line….I dread to think what the other 3 sides look like if that’s the one they chose to show to the camera.

Wow!  No sooner than the words “atrociously decorated cake” come out of my mouth than I turn the page and….oh boy….

Kangaroo Cake for a Children's Party

Kangaroo Cake for a Children’s Party

I have never really understood the penchant for cakes shaped like animals.

“Here you are Grandma, have a bit of Skippy’s arse on a plate. We saved it specially for you….now, who wants an eyeball?”

Why would anyone choose to do that?  It’s weird and gross.

That’s enough for today, there will be more, I’m only about a third of the way through the book.

I’m going to practice my newly discovered skill of making things happen just by saying them.

Must go, Ryan Gosling’s at the door… and bless him, he’s brought pizza.

Enjoy your week!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Singers and Swingers in The Kitchen – Roberta Ashley (1967): Lemon Cake, Orange Jello and Confusion

Hello and welcome to the new look Retro Food For Modern Times.  I’m still tweaking the design so feedback would be greatly appreciated!

I also know I have gone overboard on this book.  I promise this will be my last post from it.  For the moment.

Finally, if anyone has come to this page by Googling “swingers” and “jello”, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.  It’s about cake. Seriously, stop reading now.  You’ll only be disappointed.  It wasn’t even a particularly nice cake!

Lemon Orange Cake

Lemon Orange Cake

Ok, so now that the perverts are gone, lets talk cake.  Although, maybe I should have let them stay.  It worked for that “Fifty Shades of Grey” lady. Maybe I should become the E L James of smutty cooking.  I could go all breathy and talk about “Beating the eggs and whipping the cream” whilst heaving my bosom about. Or would that just make me Nigella?  (Who I absolutely adore.  Please don’t sue me.  I love you).

Anyway, back to the cake.  The recipe comes from Chad Stuart.  And before you even start to think “Who the f…” let me interrupt you right there. Chad Stuart is one half of the British folk duo Chad And Jeremy.

Same question huh? I thought so.  Click the link if you really want to find out. It doesn’t really matter but just for the hell of it, Chad Stuart is the speccy one in the photo below, not the one who looks a little bit like a young Ryan Gosling if you squint and look at the screen on the correct angle.

album-chad-jeremy-sing-for-youyesterdays-gone

So, the cake.

I had never heard of a cake that used Jelly / Jello as an ingredient but was not averse to trying it. There were only a few ingredients and I have an incredible fondness for a lemon syrup cake!

orange lemon cake recipe 002

Orange-Lemon Cake Ingredients

Lemon Orange Cake Ingredients

The batter turned a bright orange and went quite bubbly. It tasted slightly chemical and overwhelmingly of oil.  The oil was my fault. The recipe states vegetable oil. I should have used a more neutral oil like canola instead of a fruity olive oil. There was still too much of it though, you can see it pooling around the edges of the bowl in the picture below.

I think the slight chemical taste probably came from the cake mix.  It could also have been some sort of weird mental effect – my mind thinking that it wasn’t “real” cake so should not taste like one. I’m someone who often likes the raw batter better than the cooked cake so the initial taste was disappointing.

Orange Lemon Cake Batter

Lemon Orange Cake Batter

The first weird thing happened when I took the cake out of the oven.  There was a white….(I want to say bloom but that reminds me a little too much of mould or algae)….froth?…on the surface of the cake, about an inch in from the border of the tin.  This was probably caused by all those bubbles in the mixture, although these had not been as prevalent when I’d spooned it into the pan.

Raw Cake Batter

Raw Cake Batter

White Froth on Cake

White Froth on Cake

The froth didn’t impact the taste but it was unsightly and as the cake wasn’t iced, it meant I had to keep looking at it.

There was also some sort of Jedi mind trick going on with the taste of the cake.  It was an orange cake in colour so in my mind, it should have also tasted of orange.  It didn’t. It tasted pretty much of nothing. I’m not sure why, maybe the excess of oil neutralised the other flavours.

Adding the syrup, if anything, made it even weirder.  Not the least of which because I have no idea what a poultry nail is.  I poked my holes with a skewer like a normal person.  What I ended up with was an orange cake that tasted of lemon.

This cake caused my brain to melt.  Seriously.  It messed with my head.  The oily batter, the weird froth, the colour not matching the flavour, it was not a pleasant experience or one that I am likely to repeat without significantly changing the recipe.

If I was going to make it again I would use a more neutral oil and cut down on the amount.  I would have the colour of the cake match the colour of the syrup – if using orange jelly/o, I would use orange syrup.  How awesome would this look with a blood orange syrup?  Alternatively, I could just make this modern version that I found on the Aeroplane Jelly site:

http://aeroplanejelly.com.au/Recipes/Original/Easy-Jelly-Party-Cake.aspx

What I like about this modern version is the sprinkling of the jelly/o crystals on the icing.  That would be awesome! I love the crystals nearly as much as I love raw cake batter.

I’m off to hunt for a new book for next time.  Enjoy your week!
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