Cook Quick tips from the 1950s

There’s something fascinating about period cookery books – I posted about my late mum’s Fanny Craddock books before, but whilst playing with my books the other day, I found another old cookbook – The Daily Telegraph Prize-winning Readers’ Recipes (with cook quick illustrations).

There’s no date of publication, but it contains ‘Cook Quick’ methods from the newspaper which appeared from 1949. Also it has my mum’s maiden name in so must be pre-1954.

I love the red rabbit jelly with chopped lime jelly grass on the front cover. We had one of those jelly-moulds and I remember my mum doing those for our birthday parties in the 1960s.

The recipes themselves are the usual homestyle mix you’d expect from a early 1950s cookbook, but it’s the ‘Cook Quick’ illustrations that fascinated me flicking through this book. They are a wonderful mix of the obvious, the time-savers we no longer need, and just occasionally – that just might come in useful tips,  like this one below:

It brings to mind that maths puzzle where you have 3 and 5 litre jugs, and have to measure out 4 litres (answer at the bottom).

At the top of some of the pages are further tips.

Have ingredients ready: Weigh Accurately.

Once mixed, put cake in oven quickly.

Those were in the cakes chapter.  Then there was this cook quick tip …

This is a tip that Masterchef contestants might find useful to try – they seem to be good at curdling their creme brulées.  I don’t know if it works though.  I’ve always added a splash of warm water and re-beaten to try uncurdling a cake mixture.

I also liked a tip for lifting bottles and jam-jars from a sterilising pan – just put each one into a cotton flour bag – “these bags prevent the bottles touching one another and facilitate their reoval from steriliser.”  If only I had some flour bags!

Finally on the very last page – how you can earn a ‘Cook Quick Guinea’:

Reading about time-saving cooking hints in this book, you may have been reminded of one which you yourself have invented.
If it is accepted as suitable it will be photographed by The Daily Telegraph and published on the Woman’s Page, and you will receive a guinea prize.

I’m afraid I can’t offer a guinea, or any money incentive, but if you have any Cook Quick tips of your own you’d like to share, please do …

* * * * *

Answer to maths problem: Fill the 5l.   Fill the 3l from the 5l, leaving 2l in the 5l. Discard the contents of 3l.  Pour the 2l from 5l into 3l.   Re-fill the 5l and fill the 3l jug which already has 2l in from it – it’ll take 1l, leaving 4l in the 5l jug.

5 thoughts on “Cook Quick tips from the 1950s

  1. Nordie says:

    I managed to “yoink” a Good Housekeeping cook book off my mother a few years ago – I’d say it’s perhaps early 1970s. Despite the number of cookbooks I have in my house, many of them are used to check basics (e.g. how long to roast beef to get it medium etc). I should make more use of them I suppose.

    And have you ever sen the footage generally considered as “when Fanny Craddock lost it”?

  2. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    I *love* old cookbooks! I have my own going back to the 1970s when I became a vegetarian but my mother has a 1950s Good Housekeeping one which I covet. They’re like social history and it’s fascinating (and sometimes funny) to see what people used to eat…!

  3. vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas) says:

    Wonderful! We still have a stack of those rabbit moulds – my mother used to make marshmallow rabbits (coated in coconut fur and with demonic red food colouring eyes!) for school fetes when I was a kid.

  4. Margaret @ BooksPlease says:

    I have two of my mum’s cookery books too – a 1955 Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium, which I loved looking through as a child and a 1935 Radiation Cookery Book, a title which sounds terrifying but actually refers to recipes to use on the Radiation ‘New World’ Oven which my mum had. The recipes were tested in the Radiation Research Kitchen! I still have her rabbit jelly-mould and used it for my son’s parties when he was little.

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