I felt almost guilty leafing through it again, surely Fanny would not be amused? After all, her aim was to teach me to cook with her knowledge, skills and experience as the only reference I would ever need. However, I just couldn't resist looking at the recipes I loved making the most as a child and remembering the people I baked for as well as the occasions. These were some of my favourites, although I am certain they never ended up looking quite like these!
Then my eyes were drawn to the pastry section - I've been blogging about the flours and techniques Fanny uses being so different from the ones I have grown up using and being familiar with. Fanny is currently teaching me all about Flans, and I've been surprised to see her using Self Raising Flour for pastry. Imagine my surprise when I re-read my beloved Be-Ro recipe and discover it is the same! Self Raising Flour! Have I just changed the recipe myself over the years?
Is the Be-Ro book warm and friendly just because of my memories, or was it designed to be accessible and well used? Its full of essential knowledge on 'oven management', 'weights and measures', ingredients (always Be-Ro of course - it cuts out oven doubt!) but most of all just really a wealth of homely recipes.
It's written, apparently, by Joyce Bostock from the Be-Ro Home Cookery Service, and she even urges us to contact her for any free advice on recipes and 'all home baking matters'. I wonder if I ever did?
Fanny, by contrast, feels that she needs to impart her incredible knowledge to me in weekly instalments, no need for queries or feedback. However I did also go back to have a look at Fanny's first ever cookbook, from 1958, written before she was even Fanny (Phyllis Cradock doesn't really have the same ring to it, does it?) and under the Bon Viveur pseudonym with Johnnie. This is her rationale for writing the book. By request of course.
The recipes themselves are very similar to later ones, and bien sur, the inimitable Fanny style was there even then, requested or not!
Thanks to Foodie Quine for inspiring this post - don't forget to check out her blog about First Cookery Books too! http://foodiequine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/my-first-cookbook-what-was-yours.html