Scrapbooks and memories

“Nothing is so effective in keeping one young and full of lust, as a discriminating palate thoroughly satisfied at least once a day.”

~ Angelo Pelligrini, The Unprejudiced Palate ~

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A tattered old scrapbook with handwritten and cut-out recipes is hardly a family heirloom, but it does carry more memories and history than my beautifully curated boards on Pinterest. I grew up with only a few recipe books available in our house. It was my mother’s scrapbook recipes, the Kook & Geniet by SJA de Villiers, and strangely a South African Indian cookbook given to my father as a gift. The Kook & Geniet was the go-to recipe book for all those classic recipes as well as some useful “How to” chapters. It was the La Bonne Cuisine for Afrikaans cooks and as it was first published in 1951, it had all the really old-fashioned stuff like how to cook tripe and crystalise fruit. Truth is I still use my Kook & Geniet. I have a revised edition (2002) that has novel things like microwave cooking and pizza-making in it. We have even inherited an English copy (Cook & Enjoy it) from my mother-in-law, and my daughters often use it.
But the old food-stained recipe book my mother started compiling as a young woman is the one I cherish. Sure some of the recipes in it no doubt sounded fantastic when she wrote them down, but haven’t stood the test of time. I don’t think I’ll be trying the recipe for fish mousse anytime soon. The milktart recipe my mother has made more times than I can count and the special flaky pastry recipe in my granny’s handwriting are the ones worth their weight in gold though. There are also a few old-fashioned rusk recipes, cheese muffins, chocolate no-bake cookies, pie crusts and the king of all my recipes, my Apple Tart. These recipes are mostly outdated and old-fashioned, but that’s called retro now and therefore cool again. Only a few of the recipes have authors credited, and then only as much as “Joyce’s whole-wheat rusks”!
These recipes have been an inspiration to me – not just to start this blog, but when I was six, to put pen to paper and write my own recipe! Of course, I cut it out carefully and stuck it in my mom’s book. And 40-something years later it’s still there.
My first recipe
I had discovered if you took the dough from a normal scone recipe (my mother probably gave me off-cuts to play with) and added some raisins, you can bake that into some sort of (obviously delicious) Chelsea buns. Unfortunately at the age of six, I didn’t know how to spell raisins – “rosyntjies” in Afrikaans – so I wrote “dried grapes”! At least I knew my ingredients. I suppose this has created the need for a new post – Perfect Scones. The addition of dried grapes will be entirely optional!