Wednesday, 28 August 2013

By Special Request - First Cookery Books

This blog started because I am passionate about cooking and treasure my collection of old and new books which inspire me and guide me along. As I've been cooking my way through the very early stages of the Cradock Cookery Programme, I've often been surprised by some of the techniques and ingredients used, and I've really enjoyed discussing them on Twitter with other food-obsessives! When Foodie Quine sent out a request asking folk what their First Cookery Book was I was thrilled to reach for my well-loved Be-Ro book, which I still use today. I used to pester my Mum to let me cook things from it all the time. It's where I learnt to cook, and gained a passion for baking especially.


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

18 comments:

  1. My first memory of a cook book was my Mums Be-ro book - loved the Viennese whirls!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a winner eh? Might just give those Viennese Whirls a whirl today for old times sake! Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Delia Smith's complete cookery course (the original one with the black cover) is my first memory. Have always loved Fanny though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear it! I wonder how different Delia and Fanny's recipes actually were... I've never had a Delia cookbook :-( Enjoy!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for joining in with my #firstcookbook linky. The burning question is did you also have the infamous BeRo man?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't! Wasn't he really Fred the Homepride Man though? Maybe they were one and the same? #JobShare

      Delete
  4. I love the Be-Ro books - I have two editions, relatively recent (I think one of them is ONLY ten years old) and couldn't manage without them. I like the look of the Harlequin Gateau - so retro it's fashionable again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got a more modern one too, but love the retro-ness of my first one! Might just make a Harlequin again!

      Delete
  5. I have memories of leafing through my Mums Bero Cookbook too. I think everyone had one! I have several versions of it now but my mum is hanging on to the original!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Mum, auntie and Gran all had one, so everywhere I went t was Bero baking!

      Delete
  6. The Be Ro chocolate cake is a classic recipe loved by almost everyone I know (of a certain age) Really enjoying this blog What a great find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you've found it, and hope you stick around! Thanks...

      Delete
  7. i would love a copy of this cook book where could i get one

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The BeRo one or Fannys? Old vintage BeRo ones crip up on eBay from time to time, but you can also get a new one direct from BeRo on their website. The Fanny one is hard to find, again I'd check eBay - I can keep my eyes peeled for you!

      Delete
  8. im after the one of this page it was my nanas favourite and shes after another and yeah please that would be fab thankyou!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi! My mum has had this exact recipe book since she was a child and at this point, it's not in the best of condition. I was hoping that you would be able to tell me what edition this book is in (my mum's book has fallen apart to the point that the first few pages are missing) so I can surprise her with a copy of this in better condition! Thank you in advance :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there - this is the 33rd Edition - hope you find a replacement one! I love mine - they still produce them today in updated editions too... Let me know if you find one!

      Delete