Some time ago my mother gave me a little baking booklet that had belonged to my grandmother. She was a very traditional grandmother: she baked and was houseproud, and she had no desire to ever leave Yorkshire (she hardly ever did – once she almost went abroad, to Europe, but the ferry crossing was so choppy that she refused to get off the boat at the other end, and so came back to England having never set foot on foreign soil). So we knew that this booklet had been well-used – mum remembers coming home from school on particular days of the week to find baked goods (it can’t have been Mondays, because that was wash day, when the laundry got done…).
Last week I headed up to York to visit my grandfather, and decided to bake him something from the book. I usually take him a few home-made fairy cakes when I visit, but I really hoped if I made something from this booklet it might taste similar to the cakes my grandmother had made for him over the years. I decided on butterfly cakes, since that’s something I know he loves. I followed the recipe exactly as stated in the book (I’m usually a devil for tinkering a little bit with recipes, or skipping steps like sieving flour), and the end result was delicious. My grandfather was certainly happy with them!
The booklet is fascinating, and I can see plenty of useful recipes in there that I’d like to try. I can’t quite work out how old it is – there are no dates listed in it anywhere. Mum thinks it might date back to the 1930s, but we can’t be sure. There’s no mention of rationing, so I don’t think it was published during WW2. It does mention a depot in Nottingham – and Wikipedia reports that that depot opened in 1931. You can see the booklet I have on the Bero website, and you can also order a copy of the latest edition of it. It’s only £1.50, so I’m quite tempted to do that, but I think I’ll try a few more of the old recipes first.