There is something both nostalgic and intriguing in reading old cookbooks, especially European ones from the first half of last century. This was a time when during and after the world wars the mothers of the house had to rely on their skills to produce appetizing and nutritious meal, while all the while making do with rationing, budgeting, using local products or what they could grow in their own garden, they still canned, or preserved for the winter, and did not have as much access as we have now to more ‘exotic’ ingredients.
Maybe there is something to be learned from our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, about how to stretch proteins, and use seasonal meats, fruits and vegetables. This would support local farmers and save our planet from unnecessary carbon footprints pollution. And yet, I fear that we will not be going back to more sustainable eating practices anytime soon due to the growing popularity of bloggers, and online sharing of recipes which introduces us to new and exiting dishes made from ingredients that rarely are produced locally.
This summer my Papa gave me two 1950’s French cookbooks, the recipes present us with an idea of what might have been on the menu in a French household at the times. Many of the recipes are perfectly suited for modern cooking, but others are terribly outdated such as the ‘ Bouillie’ for babies made from 175g of milk, 1 spoon flour, 1 pinch salt and 2 cubes of sugar….. Imagine giving your baby that much sugar in his bottle !
One of my favorite bits are the words from the writer H.P. Pellaprat, a cooking professor. He dedicates the book to the '' French housewife who is more conscious than all others of the well-being and happiness of her household, where the table contributes strongly to this well-being, by being one of those rare joys that the passing of time measures out with so much parsimony ''.
|Vintage French cookbooks|
|Picture perfect cakes of the 50's....|
|Pork head aspic anyone ?|
|French strawberry pie|
|Special dish for special days.... the side decoration are cubes of meat gelatine.|
|Some recipes might taste good, but they needs some help with the presentation......|