Saturday, January 20, 2007


I have been idling away a few more pleasant and nostalgic hours going through old recipe books.

One of the most interesting is called "TRIED RECIPES" compiled by the Victoria League Girls' Club in Auckland. It was published in 1916, and was priced at One shilling, with postage 2 1/2 pence extra! We are told that the entire proceeds were for the Surgical Appliance Fund, set up to assist "maimed" soldiers.

I am constantly amazed at how many of the recipes have just flour, sugar, milk, butter and eggs as the basic ingredients, cooked in varying proportions and ways, with things like a few currants, treacle, spices or flavoured essences to add interest. If the ladies using these recipes found themselves in one of today's big supermarkets, they would have imagined themselves to be on another planet!

Many of the recipes reflect the preoccupation with the war. There is already an Anzac Pudding and Anzac Shortbread, War Pudding, Red Cross Tomatoes,a Soldiers' Cake, a Canadian War Cake, and a Khaki Cake........and Wake Cakes!

One rather amusing section contains recipes contributed by soldiers, and I loved this gem supplied by 4/464Harold J. Baxter.


Grate up 4 army biscuits on a piece of jam tim that has been pierced with a bayonet, using as little bad language as possible. Soak for 2 days in your water issue. Place in mess tin, and boil until a complete state of sloppiness is reached. Add jam to taste - sugar having risen in price.

The invalid cookery section is also fascinating as usual. How about "Invalid Toast", contributed by A.D, Auckland Trained Nurses' Club?


Toast a slice of bread; put it on a warm plate and pour boiling water over it. Lay another plate on top and steam off the water. Butter with soft butter. Heat for a minute in the oven; cover again and serve hot.

Oh dear, what a lot of trouble for a slice of bread and butter!

Almost as interesting as the recipes are some of the advertisements in these old publications, many of them for the latest gas or electrical appliances, and for numerous brands of tea and flour. Photographers and Insurance Agents seem to feature prominently too.

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