I'm a bit addicted to cruising charity shops looking for recipe books. There I've said it. I can't walk past a charity shop without having a rummage on the book shelves. I have quite a big collection of recipe books at home, quite a lot of which have been acquired after the original owner got fed up of them. Once in a while a gem appears, like my copy of the BBC Radio Leicester Cook book.
As an actual recipe book it's pretty useless, but as a time capsule it's a treasure. It was obviously produced in the mid 1980s and includes such escapades as Gourmandise 'Brillat-Savarin' Elizabeth from someone called Bill Patterson in the 'Parties' chapter and the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Richard Rutt's recipe for Paddington Bear's Marmalade Sandwiches with Double Custard. I won't be making the former, but I have to love a Bishop who asks us to spread rich tea biscuits with marmalade before marinating in malt whisky and then covering with orange scented double cream. The recipe notes state this is 'Not for Lent'. No kidding!
All of the city and county's great and good are represented, factory owners like Frank Robson of Ladies Pride Outerwear Ltd (Polynesian Pork) and Geoffrey Gee of Stead and Simpson (Potage Crème D'or); cricketer David Gower (Quickie Mixed Grill) and the very grand sounding Grouse Pie A La Lanesborough from the Earl of Lanesborough. Sir Richard Attenborough is my personal favourite. You will never guess what his recipe is for!
There are also directions for making and wrapping a Stilton cheese, raising various pies with hot water pastry and detailed instructions on how to make a good garam masala. While I might not try to wrap a cheese I am more than prepared to try the lamb and spinach curry and the mayay mani (mince curry topped with eggs and baked).
Recipe books give you a snapshot of the period in which they were produced. The 80s for me was all about school, Wham, microwave ovens, soap operas, films and Delia. In this book there is none of that. You can feel the deference being afforded to the Lords and Ladies of the county, the hunts are still represented here and you get no sense of the downturn in manufacturing that was taking place. Marie Forsyth gamely held up a mirror to her own middle class dinner parties. Oh and Dickie... He was having none of it. His recipe is for Tripe and Onions. Helen Knott