05 August 2007

A Culinary Horror Story

I thought I had seen all the treasures in Mum's cupboard, but yesterday this emerged and, I have to say, she has saved the best for last. Mrs Beeton's All About Cookery was given to my grandmother in 1909. She used to work for Fry's Chocolates in England where she hand painted the tops of chocolate boxes and the book is signed by Mrs Fry. My sister still has one of the paintings she did and it is exquisite. This book is right up there with the most ghoulish modern day horror story. The first tasty morsel to catch my eye was this delight: Brain Sauce for Sheep's Head!!! Sorry, but I wouldn't give you a ha'penny for this, let alone a whole 2d. But wait, it gets better, or perhaps I should say worse: There is even a contribution from "the colonies": I can just imagine the outcry if such a recipe was published today. People are jailed for trying to smuggle these birds out of the country. Just think what would happen if they put them in a pie! A word of warning, do not read on if you are feeling squeamish: How appropriate that the next recipe after the Terrapin is "for sickroom". That is where I imagine you would be after you had prepared the Terrapin, let alone eaten them.
Sorry Mrs Beeton, but I'll take Maggie Beer any day over you. However, I can't help wondering if, in another hundred years, people will think that what we eat today is disgusting. No doubt they will.
Right about now I am thinking that my sister got the better deal - the beautiful hand painted chocolate box lid, while I got the horror story.
I hope I haven't turned anyone off their next meal. I am off to the sewing room to try to settle my stomach!

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