I’m no Julia Child, Rachel Ray or Ina Garten by any stretch of the imagination. Let’s just say that I can handle myself in the kitchen and if the worst comes to the worst, I won’t starve, even with the minimum of ingredients, one pot, one spoon and a one-burner stove.
Nevertheless, I am an avid recipe collector. You should see the pieces of paper stuff in a folder. Some of them, I’ve had for years (all yellowed). Most of them, I have not even tried. Several recipe books sit on the designated shelf in my kitchen and I’ll share stories about them another time.
There is however, a cook book that holds an extra special, big place in my heart. It was the first cook book I ever owned and it was the text for my Home Economics/Cookery class in Form 3, at St. Joseph’s Convent St. Joseph; picture 1971. Oh boy, that’s many moons ago. I (only a water boiler then) was thrilled to high heaven.
This sentimental Treasure was first published in 1963 and the third edition (in colour) was reprinted in 1969. It is not filled with recipes though, instead it overflows with theory, information on measurement conversions, cooking and baking techniques, and general home and kitchen practices. Some of the topic it covers:
Principles of Nutrition – Meal Planning – Meat, Fish, Milk, Cheese Egg, Fruit and Vegetable Cookery – The Cooking of Food – Pastry and Cake Making – Raising Agent – Contamination of Food – Presentation of Food – Kitchen Planning- Safety in the Home.
Scones was the first recipe we tried and to this day, it is one of my all-time favourite pastry. That process of rubbing flour and butter with my fingertips was fun then and still is, although I must add “therapeutic” to that method.
Since that first cookery class, I’ve made several variations of the classic Scones – with cheese, with herbs, with ham. Each time though, the flour and butter rubbing technique is the highlight. Go figure! And yes, the Scones are always delicious, if I may say so myself. I can make Scones. Paste on some butter or jam and “BAM!” to quote celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse.
I still use this cherished cookery text as a reference for information I’ve forgotten, as well as for techniques that recipes may call for – techniques that seem to be commonplace in the cooking world, but not quite automatic to me.
Would you believe that I feel a hankering for Scones? Maybe it’s that flour and butter rubbing technique that’s calling me. In that case, Scones, here I come!