Page 13, 21st May 1937

21st May 1937
Page 13
Page 13, 21st May 1937 — A READER PLEADS—

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Please Help My Cooking

My first thoughts were similar to most people's, and ran as follows — " Why should women be pampered or pushed off with a page of beauty hints or recipes of c.Alandish dishes? It's the other pages containing the world's news that matters to us unmarried women."

—Which thoughts contain deep error and some womanly pettiness.. Apologies.

And I should have left the request unanswered for the only reason that though I searched and searched, no novel or original solutions came to make it urgent that I should communicate them to you.

But my naughty thoughts merited and received a swift retribution. On holiday I spent many sunny hours by the sea. dozing over T. E. Shaw's translation of The Odyssey." Of "clever " books I read a couple. Once home, my ever-changing ambitions crystallised into two—no longer considered dull but now fascinating— desires, viz., to command all the secrets that lie behind an ever-varied goodly table and to carry to the grave the appearance of a fresh womanly-woman.

I began daily raids on the kitchen. I snatched a Mrs. Becton's (30 years old) and a modern French cookery book. I opened at soups and fell for "Soupe Julienne," as an easy one to start off with. I followed step by step the injunctions of both books, which tallied fairly well. After three hours' perspiring effort the evening meal began with my " Soupe Julienne "— only a very little pale-looking liquid at the bottom of the soup plates.

Family comments:

Be/ore tasting: " It looks very good, but not much of

it." (I quaked! I hadn't dared offer more!) After tasting: "Rather sweet, but perhaps that's the carrots."

" Oogh, I don't like this! "

"You get used to it after the first spoonful."

Silence and quick gulps! Until to the charitable silent one (who had recently been

guilty of mistakes in cake making) I whispered, "Thanks; you've done enough."

And the soup plates were quickly clattered back to the serving hatch. God in His goodness had provided something edible for the next dish!

To turn to "Cream of Caramel" was relief after the soup making. The directions for this simple sweet were printed on

every packet to be had at our dairy. I bought six miniature basin-moulds and got down to boiling my sugar and water to make the caramel and to mixing my custard-like powder with some spoonfuls of the fresh pint of milk prescribed. All went well and, thrilled with success, I returned 2+ hours later to put the finishing touch to my handiwork—turn the contents of the moulds out into suitable dishes. I loosened the sweet and turned it upside down, but nothing happened. I tapped and I shook and I eased again but no result. I reread the instructions. No help there!

After 21 hours remove the mixture from the mould in the ordinary fashion." The last four words leered up at me most maddeningly.

As with the soup, all to be lost because of the small ordinary scraps of knowledge which cookery books abstain from giving because the average people know them by heart.

Then one pale gleam of hope lit my darkened horizon. " You will never be a first class cook unless you follow intensive cookery courses and you can't do that at the moment." "Cookery books by them selves are useless. They need an interpreter."

"Then why not ask The Woman's Page ' in the Catholic. Herald?".

Hurrah! And with this possibility before me my respect for editorial staffs went up by leaps and bounds and remorse began its corrective work.

So please may I plead for help in cookery?

Interpretation of recipes, not added recipes!

F. C. H.

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