…. to when they bain’t be so different after all.
And to find out that recipe/receipt/rule question of what to call the instructions that one receives to cook was a question and source of some confusion with ordinary cooks long before historic cooks got into the business.
Take me back…to 1942 and Mrs Appleyard’s Kitchen….
This is a book that was given to me not once, but twice, in two different decades by two very different people. Both of them thought I’d enjoyed it – and they were both right!
Both times the book itself was a yard sale/flea market find. One copy from 1942, the other a reprint edition from the 1950’s.
Mrs Appleyard is very much no-nonsense, with a very good palate and a strong sense of right and wrong, especially when it comes to what is being set out on her table.
But I’ll let her speak for herself
Mrs. Appleyard’s Kitchen. Louise Andrews Kent. Houghton Mifflin Company – The Riverside Press: Boston, 1942.
“ ‘This book will never replace real cookbooks – books like the Hesseltine and Dow Good Cooking, for instance. I don’t know how brides got along without that, because it has everything in it that anyone ever heard of cooking, and it’s practical. If I’d had it when I was a bride everything might have been different. I might never have made those choke-dogs, for instance…’ p. vii.
(If anyone knows what the chock-dog reference is, please leave a comment! Inquiring minds want to know)
“ ‘…I still think there’s room for the smaller, more personal book, for the kind that is based on one person’s experience, rather than the encyclopaedia of cooking that has all the wisdom of the ages in it. The smaller ones are fun to read, too, even if you never cook out of them.’
‘Is your book for wartime?’ asked the Editor.
‘Nor specifically,’ said Mrs. Appleyard, ’but I think it might be helpful. Its point of view is that you eat things when they are at their best rather than dragging them all over the country when they are out of season. And that you have a few things and take pains in making them, rather than many and give them only part of your attention. p.viii.
(In season? Local? Isn’t it funy how this isn’t quaint right now?? )
‘In our family we say “receipts”, said Mrs. Appleyard, ‘and I’ll tell you why. It’s a question of Latin. “Recipe” is the imperative form of the verb – what I’d say to you if I wanted to tell you how to make cornstarch pudding, for instance, or cough syrup, or any other unlikely substance. “Take – recipe,” I’d say, “two tablespoons of cornstarch and throw it into the sink.” Those directions would be the receipt – the instructions that you received from me, because the word is derived from the past participle – is that clear?’
‘As clear as imitation Hollandaise sauce,’ murmured the Editor.
‘I’m glad’, said Mrs. Appleyard,’because I just made it up. Of course when we don’t want to embarrass anyone we just call them “rules” ’, she continued. ‘Yes, a good many of them are family receipts and others came from friends, and some are things we worked out ourselves.” p. ix.
We’ll be spending more time with Mrs Appleyard.