Monday, March 15, 2010

Maid in Canada

Photo of a house maid
from Canada's Prize Recipes
complied by the Canada Starch Co. Ltd.,

Among the family ephemera in the Treasure Box was this little cookbook.

In those days cookbooks weren't just a collection of recipes, but included all sorts of housewifey advice.

To wit:

The Necessity of a Modern Kitchen,

The Value of Good Utensils (a list is included)

The Maid and Her Uniform

Table Service

Correct Table Etiquette

How To Carve

The Feeding of Children

Table of Measurements

It's this housewifey advice which provides any researcher into a given era with useful information about domestic conventions and social attitudes.

Many of the recipes in this booklet were familiar; but I'd never heard of Magic Murphys, Roman Delight, English Monkey, or Angels on Horseback.

And, finally, I have a recipe to the bland pudding so often-referenced in novels: Blanc Mange.


raine said...

And now you've got me imagining an old-fashioned cozy mystery with a proper housemaid, suspected of killing her lecherous old master... :)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Sounds like a dangerous book I could spend useless hours reading!

Anonymous said...

The feeding of children: deliver food at arms-length, paying particular attention to the position of your fingers. Toss to the other corner of the room if necessary. Withdraw from the room politely, but with all deliberate direction and speed.

Lana Gramlich said...

The names of some of those recipes almost sound pornographic, like a "Dirty Sanchez."

Bernita said...

Hee, Raine! The demure photo does lend itself to that, doesn't it?

Indeed, it is,Betsy!

Jason, you've caught the very flavour of the prose!

And they all look fattening too, Lana!

Charles Gramlich said...

Angels on horseback sounds particularly interesting.

BernardL said...

You're right, the interaction inside a home in any age reflects much of what occurs outside it.

Angie said...

Those are always fun to read, looking at different customs and ideas from back whenever.

One of my favorites is the Fanny Farmer Cooking School Cookbook, which was one of the, if not the premier cooking school textbooks in the US from around the turn of the 19/20th century. One section on children says that small children are fed only bread and milk until they're five, because that's the age when they start growing and they need a wider variet of foods. And of course, a modern person's automatic response is something along the lines of, "Well of course age five is when your kids 'started' growing -- you weren't feeding them until then!!"

When I first got this book, though, it explained the lines in some older children's books I'd had as a kid (inherited from various older relatives' attics) about the children going up to the nursery for their bread and milk before bed. I'd always thought it was some kind of bedtime snack, but apparently not. [bemused smile]


Bernita said...

I agree, Charles.
It involves oysters and bacon and fried bread - which doesn't seem to relate to the name at all.

Gives us a micro >>> macro perspective, Bernard.

Rather scary, Angie.

laughingwolf said...

what, no spotted dick recipe? :O lol

guess it's only in brit books?

word verif: dirtyr

StarvingWriteNow said...

when I hear or read blanc mange, I get the shudders because of "mange"... I'm thinking of the skin disease. EEUWW!!

Steve Malley said...

I have an inexplicable craving for a large bowl of English Monkey... :)

Bernita said...

The Brits get all the good names, LW!

Not the best of associations, SWN.

Why not, Steve?
I think I would add sauteed onions to it myself.Or mushrooms.

Whirlochre said...

However did those maids bend to do the cleaning in those starchy uniforms?

Maybe the blancmange doubled up as a handy fabric softener.

Ric said...

The short starchy uniforms relate back to Raine's response about the lecherous old master....

As you can see, I'm in fine fiddle, managing to get sex into a discussion of old cookbooks...

Must be spring fever - sunshine and 60 degrees, sap rising...

SzélsőFa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SzélsőFa said...

the list made'maid' so impersonal, so cold... as if it was some new equipment...

re: strange names:
we have one dessert called Bird's Milk (madártej). I've heard it's called Floating Islands in English-speaking countries. is it really so?
anyway, a better approach to describe the thing than bird's milk, by all means :))

Carla said...

Devils on Horseback I know. What's the angelic version?

laughingwolf said...

ah, but we have a bunch of "nuns' farts" recipes they don't ;) lol

archer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
archer said...

Do they sit down and think "Hmm, let's see, we need a uniform design that says 'Wearer is authoritative yet will do anything you want, anything, anything'"?

Gabriele C. said...

Ah yes, the nun's farts. And the Cold Dog and the Poor Knight. Plus a wine called Krövers Nacktarsch - Krover's Naked Arse.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I know most of those - must be the English influence from our ancestors but the Monkey one sounds fascinating. Makes you wonder about the humor of the person who named these recipes.

raine said...

Hoping you are well, Bernita.

writtenwyrdd said...

I was tickled when, years ago, a friend gave me a Fanny Farmer cookbook and blanc mange was included. Little Women! :)

You'd have loved Egypt, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Whirl, perhaps they only wore the starched aprons when serving at table and tea.

Ric, according to the advice to the mistress "A maid will take much more interest in her appearance if her uniform is attractive and becoming."

I think either name is charming, SzwlsoFa.

3 thin slices of stale bread, a few thin slices of bacon, a few drops of lemon juice, 12 oysters, some finely chopped parsley, a dash of red pepper, vegetable oil.
Cut the bacon in little squares just big enough to rolll around an oyster. Put an oyster in the centre of each piece, sprinkle with chopped parsley and lemon juice, then roll up and pin with a skewer. Fry in hot vegetable oil until bacon is cooked, then remove from skewer and lay each oyster on a square of bread that has been fried in veg. oil until a deep golden colour. Serve hot garnished with lemon slices and parsley.

Bernita said...

And the pope's nose, LW!

Archer, " Often the general maid will wear a white overall in the morning usually with short sleeves. Cuffs are a nuisance when one is in and out of the dishpan to answer the door. In the afternoon, a dress of blue, beige, lilac or pale yellow is worn with a dainty apron and cap - the latter of fine mull or organdy, with plain borders or tiny frills..."

"Krover's Naked Arse."
!!and !!!, Gabriele!

Yes, Suzanne, and then one reads it is basically a cheeze, egg and bread dish.

Except for pain, Raine.

Written, of course I would! We want pictures!

writtenwyrdd said...

Scroll down the blog a number of posts for Egypt pictures. I'll post more later, though.