Hints from Grandma Sarah.

In the book Grandma Sarah wrote down some handy hints to help in her everyday running of the house chores, these were probably handed down from her mother, after all I should imagine she played a large part in helping out in their home when she was growing up, especially as she was the only girl amongst six brothers.  Some of them you may have heard of and some of them you will be less familiar with, I think they are charming.

  • A tablespoon of Glycerine in the starch water makes ironing a pleasure.
  • If milk is just going to boil over place a Silver spoon in the pan and this will stop the milk from boiling over.
  • Mint sauce eaten with lamb, is improved by dissolving a teaspoon of sugar in two tablespoons of boiling water and pour over the mint and leave for 10 minutes before adding the vinegar.
  • A tablespoon of boiling water added to sponge mix makes lighter sponge cakes.
  • To help green vegetables keep their colour boil in the pan without the lid.
  • When pickling onions or red cabbage, crispness may be obtained if a pinch of Alum ? is used.
  • Before whisking eggs, rinse the bowl with cold water and leave a drop or two in the bottom, the eggs will then come out clean and this will save waste.
  • The best way of making curdled custard smooth is to stand it in a pan of cold water and beat with an egg whisk until smooth.
  • To prevent skin forming on boiled milk, cover the  pan with a plate or saucer, thus saving all the goodness.
  • When making oatmeal porridge or cooking rice, if the pot is greased with lard or butter first it is much easier to clean.
  • Save the green leaves of celery, dry them in the oven, then rub down into a powder and store them in a glass jar, they make good flavourings for soups and stews.

Here’s a bit of advice for us all.
Where you go wrong.

  • You do not dry the fruit thoroughly which tends to make your cake heavy.

I think she meant:

  • If you do not dry the washed fruit thoroughly before you add it to the cake mixture it will make the cake heavy and stodgy.
  • You do not have the oven hot enough, when browning the cake, the cake is left in too long and it becomes over cooked, Five minutes should be long enough.

Here, I think she was advising to preheat the oven at the correct regulo (temp) for five minutes.
The early recipes in the book would have most probably been cooked on an oven heated by the fire. These oven combinations were known as “Bungalow Ranges” these were the most common ones used by the working classes they were built into the chimney breasts of the houses and were fuelled by coal or coke. As time went on the gas cooker came on the scene, this was basic but it had a more controlled heat by the introduction of the thermostat and the regulo,  the temperatures on the thermostat ranged from regulo 1 to regulo 10 giving a more controlled heat for better baking.  There was also more upmarket ones these were known  as the AGA cookers  these cookers were first imported from Sweden to Britain in 1929  and they are still  sought after,  and still in use today. As we travel through the book we can get an idea of the progress made in the kitchen, by the ingredients available, the recipe methods and the appliances used.