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Persephone book no:

The Country Housewife’s Book

by Lucy H Yates

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Drawing by Rex Whistler

216pp
ISBN 9781903155707

The subtitle of The Country Housewife's Book is How to Make the Most of Country Produce and Country Fare:  like Good Food on the Aga, Persephone book no.45, which is a useful and inspiring cookbook even for those who do not have an Aga, this is a fascinating and important book even for the town-dweller.

There are eight chapters, each beautifully illustrated with line drawings by Mary Gardiner: the first is ‘A General Survey of Storeroom and Larder’, then comes ‘Garden and Orchard Fruits’ (which tells you the best time to pick fruit, what size it should be and how to bottle it, and how to preserve fruit as jam and jelly). The next chapter is about using garden produce and is full of useful suggestions that marrows should be planted to ramble over an arch and how to grow sorrel and salsify. Chapter IV is about milk and eggs (cream and butter-making, lemon curd, eggnog for colds) and Chapter V is called ‘The Sportsman’s Bag’ and has tips and recipes for pigeon pie and game soup and salmon trout.  Then there is a chapter on herbs – drying them, using them for medicinal purposes. The penultimate chapter on ‘Hobbies of the Country Housewife’ may be less useful to those of us who do not want to skin rabbits or use fowl feathers, but there are some good tips on how to deal both with unwanted insects and ‘the mischievous mouse’ and the ‘unpaid helpers of the country housewife’ such as ladybirds.  To end with there are special country-house recipes such as ‘household bread’ and crème brulée. The Country Housewife’s Book was recommended to us by the owner of a working farm in Kent who said that she uses it all the time (even though it was first published seventy-five years ago).

Endpaper

'Spring' 1933, CPA Design, Calico Printers for Warner & Sons, Braintree

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Categories: Cookery Books    Country Life    House and Garden   
 

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