Ma’s Recipe Book

I caught myself thinking about my Ma’s old recipe book the other day.  I have it tucked away in our bookshelves, and was prompted to take it off the shelf to have a closer look at it.  A wondrous ‘time capsule’ of a tome and it occurred to me that it is my mother’s equivalent of my ‘sketckbook pages’.  A veritable feast of hand-written recipes from cover to cover, meticulously indexed in the back, written mostly in various-coloured inks – including green – and in her own distinctive script which is as close to a signature as you can get.  I wondered who her mentor and inspiration might have been?  Elizabeth David comes to mind as a lot of the recipes, especially the early ones, have eclectic titles with a French or Italian flavour such as ‘Omelette aux Crevettes’ or  ‘Red Mullet Nicoise’ even a recipe for Steak and Kidney Pudding (Chez Quaglino).  The trend for Mediterranean flavours must have seemed a wonderfully exotic antidote to post-war austerity and blandness.   But there are also recipes from Spain, Poland, Austria, and India to name but a few and it becomes a bit of a global gastronomic trot around the world.