I love old recipes and making things that people of previous generations make. When I make one, I feel connected to the past and the people that have gone before. I feel that, even thou I might not have known them personally, or know their name, in a way making their recipes ensures that they arn’t forgotten, and that their work continues on.
In a way, things like cooking and knitting connect me with the past and with hundreds of generations of women who’s lives were sort of like mine. If you strip away the specifics, most people live very similar lives, searching for happiness, working to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, having family and friends and all taking the journey of life together.
Using old recipes and patterns, old skills and techniques, ensures that there is another generation keeping the torch alive and passing it on. Just like before.
In the spirit of this, I’m going to share two recipes, one my grandmothers (Australian Roast) and one my great grandmothers (Mayonnaise). A few years before she died, my grandmother sat down and wrote out as many vegetarian recipes as she had handy, most were either her recipes or one handed down from her mother and grandmother. This tiny, spiral bound book is where I’m getting today’s recipes from. I’m sorry to say however, there are no photos for this post, my camera batteries have died.
(I’m not sure why this is an “australian roast” but that’s what it’s called in my book)
1 cup of haricot beans (can use lentils or other beans)
1/4 lb grated cheese
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 grated carrot
soak beans overnight. Next day pressure cook beans 1/2 hour (if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can boil then simmer them until tender) Strain and mash well, add all the other ingrediants. Mix with egg. Shape into a roll, bake in a moderatly hot oven 1/2 hour.
X Good. (my grandmother always rater her recipes so she could remember her favorites. I’ve seen it range from no note, through Good, X Good and XX Good, so this one’s pretty high on the rating scale. At least one of my sisters has continued this tradition in her own recipe books.)
My mother’s Mayonnaise, keeps 12 months or more
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons mustard
2 teaspoons flour
salt and pepper
mix all together
add 1 cup of water and 1 egg.
Beat all together well. Gradually add 1 cup of vinigar, heat until nearly boiling, stirring constantly. DONT LET IT BOIL
That’s where the recipe ends, but to finish off, let cool a little then pour into sterilized jars.
There’s so much good stuff in that little cook book, I’d love to make them all at once. Reading the writing and thinking about the food she used to make puts me straight back into her kitchen with the dark brown wood paneling on the cupboards and the drawer she used to open to tell us how she used to keep this drawer full of plain flour and this drawer full of self raising flour because that was the amount of baking she used to do. Her kitchen was mostly brown and orange and was filled with little trinkets of who she was and where she’d been and I loved it there. She was one awesome old lady.