|During the war honey was popular, because sugar was
rationed. But Vere doesn’t tell us if her sweet gift was made
by a local beekeeper, or was a mass produced jar.
Feel much better this week. Very hot. A jar of honey has been given me. Very pleasant to receive. Able to get one whole pound of tomatoes without queuing for them – so Hitler is not having it all his own way.
|Were German prisoners really locked way in the
Tower of London during WW2?
|The Christmas speech made by King George VI and
broadcast on BBC Radio
From the back of Elsie’s cupboard came plums and whipped cream. Then Neville poured some exciting looking liquid into glasses, and we did some toasts. Not until we were half-way through it did I discover that it was champagne… brought out specially. So kind.
A good time was had by all, and they shared what food they had – anything nice which could be stored was brought out for special occasions, and their festive fare over the Christmas period includes a tin of butter, and dried apricots, both gifts sent by relatives in South Africa.
Actually, among my stash of WW2 books I’ve got a couple on wartime cookery, and I’m thinking of trying out some of the recipes, to get an idea of what the food was like, but I’m not at all sure if the Man of the House will appreciate austerity in the kitchen – watch this space!
|War Messages: Endpapers in Persephone’s Few Eggs and No Oranges
are from a design called London Wall, printed from a fragment of
rayon headscarf produced by Jacqmar Ltd c.1942.
The Exile, by Betty Miller, is a little odd, and I didn’t really enjoy it, but it was interesting. Here we have the Moores, Edmund and Louis, and his young brother Arthur. They are middle class and well-off, leading comfortable, cosy lives but are made uneasy by the appearance of their new servant. Russian Irina is pale, effacing and reserved, with a ‘surprisingly deep and vibrant’ voice. On the face of it she is perfect. She’s an ‘exquisite’ cook, ‘adept and thorough’ at the housework, ‘incredibly willing’ and a ‘very hard’ worker. She is, as Lois tells everyone, a treasure. A real treasure.
negativeness’ destroys the family’s own joy and pleasure in life, undermining their values and drawing them close to the void. But they never actually fall. Irina is asked to leave, and I assume that they forget their frightening glimpse into the abyss, and their brush with thoughts of death, and that life proceeds as normal.
|Dorothy Canfield Fisher.|
to keep her three children occupied on a rainy day, but they are unaware of what is required of them. Indeed, the only thing little Freddy wants is to wear his brown suit, which has been washed, and is still wet. A battle of wills ensues, and everyone is miserable until the mother’s young cousin arrives, tells a silly story, plays a silly imaginative game and discovers that what Freddy wants is not the brown suit itself, but its holster pocket where he can carry his pretend pistol. Easy peasy, says the student cousin (well, not quite in those words, after all, this was published in 1937). Let’s all sew pockets on our clothes. At which point he rushes off to catch his bus, and the Good Mother comes to the rescue with material so the children can sew ‘queer pockets’ in ‘queer places’ on their clothes. All is sweetness and light, and after lunch they give her the starring role in their play, because she was too busy to join in their earlier version.
Anyone who’s ever watched their offspring ignoring expensive and thoughtfully chose birthday and Christmas presents in favour of wrapping paper, ribbons and boxes, will recognise the truth of the picture drawn here, and sympathise with the harassed mother, who loves her children dearly, but does not always have the time to really listen to them, and cannot always see that you don’t need lots of posh or toys or complicated games, you just need some imagination.
memories and opinions, as well as literary quotes, and reflections on life in general. As far as the food goes, while some of her offerings still hold good today, many are not to modern tastes. In addition quantities, cooking times and temperatures are not nearly as precise as those in modern cookbooks and, of course, there are no pictures. But none of that matters, because Jekyll’s descriptions are so wonderful. For example, there’s her version of rice pudding (re-baptized Dundee) where she tells us:
|The endpapers feature ‘Clusters of fruits,
flowers and shell motifs’ designed by
George Sheringham and printed on silk
for Seftons in 1922.
Anyway, as I generally do, I plumped for second-hand rather than new, because it means the books are cheaper, and you get more of them! Shallow, I know, but I’ve always been attracted by quantity rather than quality, but whittling down that extensive wish list was well-nigh impossible – and my purchases haven’t made any impact on it all. I spent an evening trawling through Amazon and AbeBooks to see what was available, and in the end based my choices on the fact that books must be published by Persephone or Virago, and they should be ‘paired’ in some way. Well, it narrowed the field a bit…
|The endpapers in the Persephone edition of The Home-Maker
are from Galway, a silk velvet and terry fabric produced
by Warner and exported to America in 1917
|Dorothy Canfield Fisher|