Ah, the Reader’s Digest Cookery Year. Published in the late 1970′s, it is filled with sepia tinted, misty photographs of sacks of potatoes and plaited onions. It also fetches a mighty fine price on ebay, for such an outdated cookbook, if you’re interested- it seems that The Cookery Year, now out of print, is a bit of a classic. It is also the only cookbook my in laws use, and my mother in law gave me this copy, acquired in her local charity shop, last week.
When her own copy was shiny and new, and my parents in law lived in Yorkshire, as they slept one night the house was burgled. Creepy enough, you might think, but said burglar not only helped himself to The Cookery Year and their kitchen knives, he made himself mushrooms on toast first, which he ate by candlelight. When the police finally apprehended him, after a considerable number of burglaries had been racked up, The Cookery Year was returned to my mother in law, binding intact but pages slashed with the stolen knives. Perhaps the mushroom on toast recipe was substandard.
Going to my in laws’ house is feast or famine. After a breakfast, at breakfast time, of some slightly suspect cereal, we are usually at around lunchtime treated to a gigantic fry-up breakfast of hotelier proportions: tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, bacon, two types of sausage, eggs of your choice, toast and honey. Then you are left scrabbling around in the fridge, looking dubiously at some Stilton from last Christmas and a few floppy carrots, until about 10pm at which point another gourmet meal is mustered up out of seemingly nothing. They are the original Ready Steady Cook cooks, able to create mouth watering stews and roasts from a scrap of beef, three parsnips and an ancient spring onion. It is owing to their hotel training and simple love of good grub that my husband is such a good cook himself. And perhaps also explains his adherence to use by dates!
So I was rather pleased to receive my own copy of The Cookery Year, especially since we are trying to cook more seasonally, for reasons not only of price but also taste. I am already heeding its advice concerning storage of apples, as we have found an apple tree laden with tiny, sweet Cox-like fruit:
Combined with some brambles (hidden from Sol and his voracious ‘bambul’ appetite) and some ground almonds I made a cobbler, a slight departure from the usual crumble but a worthy one. And delicious cold as well (autumn is a fine time for greed!)
Here is is, the second time round and before I drowned it in double cream:
We’ll pick some more of the wee apples later today, drizzle permitting.