Posted 20 hours ago

Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book (Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook)

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Joined in 2023

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Most of the ones I own favour style over substance, and rarely have more than two or three recipes you would bother to cook again.

The rice pudding sprinkled with demerara sugar that came out of the oven smelling as sweet as baby milk, with a skin like tortoise shell you had to crack with a spoon.For the very many women like her who worked in the home, busting themselves to make things lovely for the rest of us, the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book was all they needed.

Most disturbing of all is the turkey in aspic, a hunk of cold poultry and mandarin orange segments suspended in a piss-coloured jelly set as firm as perspex. There were tips on how to cut corners and save time and money, on how to substitute ingredients that were scarce or unavailable. In the absence of aubergines, for example, my mother made a decent if robust moussaka with sliced potatoes.My mother’s version of it had a thin, beige sauce that pooled on the plate, glistening with chicken fat, the double cream slightly split. Most of them are on a teak bookcase in my kitchen, but there are some in the shed, the bedroom, the living room, the utility room and the roof space.

My daughter expressed a yearning for some of the meals she enjoyed in her growing up years so I thought she could try them out for herself.My mother cooked her way through everything life threw at her, from Christmases and birthday parties to the Ulster Worker’s Council strike, from a single book. The book seems hideously kitsch now, but there was something heart-breakingly earnest and aspirational on those pages.

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