COOKING THE BOOKS – CHAPTER FOUR

 

 

Own up now: Who remembers the JY prog on the radio?  Jimmy Young programme? If I said to you: ”What’s the recipe today, Jim?” in a funny, chipmunk-type voice, would you join in, humour me, or cart me off to the funny farm?  The voice belonged to “Raymondo” JY’s sidekick and the daily recipe slot was incredibly popular. I pounced on the four books, which date from the late sixties to the early seventies, when I saw them at a local book fair a few years ago.

The books include such recipes as: Special TV Supper – a thrilling novelty back then; not so unusual now, of course.  In fact, it would possibly be more Special if everyone sat up at the table for a change.  Special Dining Table Supper doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it, though?  Jean’s Stuffed Tomatoes sounds worth a try.  Though if all does not go to plan, they will forever after be referred to (darkly) as Jean’s Get-Stuffed Tomatoes. There’s Dora’s Pudding.  And Sandra’s Chicken Pie. Not to be outdone, Audrey’s sneaked in with her fancy pate. Clare and Mo’s Onion Special sounds – er – very sociable, I’m sure. Hang on, budge up, ladies.  Here’s Lorraine with her intriguingly-titled Tuna Lorraine.  Bless them all.

Here are some others that caught my eye:

Friday Surprise was – you guessed it – fish. Not much of a surprise, then.

Sausage a la Mode was perhaps on the menu at a key-swapping party? (I once knew someone who claimed she and her husband hadn’t twigged what was going on, picked up their own keys and went home.  So she says.)

Bank Holiday Pie.  May contain wood shavings, blobs of glue and the occasional widget, left over from Dad’s abortive attempt to conquer some DIY over the long weekend. Mum is already lining up a team of local tradespeople to put right the mayhem he has managed to create in just three short days.

I misread Children’s Pie as Children Pie and my mind boggled briefly.  But don’t worry; no children were harmed in the making of this recipe. Instead, you could choose between ham or spam as one of the main ingredients.  Ah, spam! I loved it then and still do.

Grimsby Flan and Kipper Cakes jostled alongside Cheese d’Artois and Chicken a la Bon Jim (creep) at a time when we were starting to dip our toes into the crystal waters of the Med for our annual holidays and nervously experimenting in the kitchen, too.  The working classes, at any rate.  Posh people had most likely been doing it for years. You can keep the brandied blue dip, though. That’s a step too far for me.

Working Mums’ Shepherd’s Pie involves chucking tins of veg and steak into a serving dish with potatoes, crossing your fingers and hoping nobody will be able to tell the difference (bet they all did, though).

Emergency Party Flan is a bit of a misnomer. Are they referring to the party or the flan as being an emergency?  Imagine the scenario: The Brown family, all collapsed on the sofa after a hard day at work and school, energies low, nothing on the telly except a layer of dust. Whatever will get them out of their mutual torpor?  Of course!  An emergency party! Quick, ring the neighbours! Get everyone over! Yes, NOW. Turn the telly off, whack Simon and Garfunkel on the stereo, dim the lights, stick a cheese and onion flan in the oven and dig out that bottle of Asti Spumante from the back of the larder.

Economical Christmas Pudding sounds a bit deflating and cheerless and missing the point somewhat.

I don’t much like the sound of Half-Pay Pudding, either but what with all those strikes, I’m not too surprised.

Swedish Soufflé, on the other hand, sounds just the thing for perking Dad up. That, and Pan’s People on TOTP… Oh and look out, there’s a new soufflé on the block: Swiss Soufflé! Ooh la la. I smell trouble.  Time for a Savoury Sizzler, perhaps?

Frozen Crunch Flan must have been a wow with those more dentally challenged.  “Christ, Moira!  I told you not to do this one again! There goes another molar.”

Tahiti Tarts. I’m saying nothing, but I’ve had my suspicions about that man from number 47.  He moved in three months ago and hasn’t opened his curtains since.

Giggle Cake. The sender doesn’t explain why it’s called this, so we will all just have to guess. You go first.

End-Of-Week Supper.  Another cheerless-sounding effort.  I’m guessing it means concocting something from what’s left in the fridge on a Friday.  Funny how the entire family always seems to be out…

Chutney In The Raw. Ooh!  Those seventies housewives!  Hubby gets home, hot and tired after a long day flicking paperclips at his colleagues and finding excuses to get his mini-skirted secretary to fetch things from the topmost shelves in his office, only to discover wifey has gone all Continental (again) and is sitting at the dining table scoffing cheese and pickle sandwiches in the nuddy.  He wonders if he can feign a headache as, sighing heavily, he puts his briefcase down, loosens his tie and cufflinks and prepares to join her…

Quick Apricot Dumplings, Quick Apple Pudding and Quick Bread Pudding.  What’s the big rush, people?! Watch out for the Quick Liver And Bacon Lunch and the Hasty Pudding, though, or you’ll be on the Rennies all afternoon.

On the other hand, there’s Quick Spicy Pudding. Quick AND spicy!  They know just what we want, those saucy housewives of Great Britain.

As for that Canadian Tart From Scotland –  we’ve all heard of her, haven’t we?  No better than she should be (sniff). No man is safe when she hits town. It’s the accent, you see.  Drives them wild. They can’t resist something a bit more exotic. Well, that and the hot pants. They’ll be trying the Steak And Tomato Quickie next. It could lead to a right old Autumn Scramble. But it’s all Apple Pie In The Sky to me, love.

Mind you, the Scots Dumpling and Spanish Tart between them could give the other one a run for her money. I told you – the accents drive them wild.

She’s got him in a right old Savoury Whirl and he’s in for a Meat Roll if he’s very lucky and there’s an “R” in the month…

Everlasting Caramel Pudding – just what we want, though give it six months and we’ll all be heartily sick of it.

Emma’s Lunch For One: a sad mélange comprising one medium potato, I small carrot, I small leek and one egg. Forget it. The hamster can have all that. As if eating alone doesn’t make you depressed enough!

Duncan’s Date Loaf.  Perhaps he should get together with Emma and put her out of her misery.

Bakeless Biscuits sound like my kind of thing.  Why wait for them to be cooked when you can scoff them immediately?!

Quickie Date and Walnut Cake. (Ideal for working mums to make, apparently. They’ll be thrilled.) “Look, Mum, it says here it’s ideal for you to make, so get your coat off and get on with it.”

Yum Yum Cake – aren’t they all?

Bachelor’s Buttons. And how to undo them.  Quickly, of course…

Wonder Bites. It’s a wonder you’ll have any teeth left, perhaps?

Chilean Apple Cake.  Now that’s just showing off.

Botter Moppin.  A Dutch recipe, apparently. It sounds like a term of endearment, or possibly mild insult, to me: “You’re behaving like a right botter moppin, you are!”

Friday Special.  Mum’s out and it’s Dad’s turn to cook.  Fish and chips it is, then.  Hide the wrappers and there’s extra pocket money in it if you don’t let on.

Winter Quickies. You don’t even have to take all your clothes off.  “BISCUITS, you say?! Ah.”

Never Fail Gingerbread. Oh, the pressure!!

Thursday Mince. ”MUUM!!  It’s Wednesday today!!”

Nurse, the screens! She’s been on the Nutty Biscuits again.

Glad’s Special. Of course she is.  We all are!

Matrimonial Cake.  Tread verrrry carefully with this one.

Chocolate Doo-Dads: don’t go there.

Canadian Chocolate Wacki Cake: don’t go there, either. Or maybe we’ll go together. Well, if you can’t beat them…

Lightning Cake – even speedier than Quickie cake? Wow. Bring it on! The clock starts NOW.

Vicarage Cake. Sounds a bit prim. More tea, Vicar?

Paradise Cake, though: isn’t that what it’s all about, Vicar? Discuss.

Economical Family Fruit Cake.  Just omit the fruit, eggs, flour, butter and sugar.  Don’t bother.  Have a nice dry cracker instead.  On the other hand, there’s always Toss-In Fruit Cake, for celebrating with when Dad, after way too many years, umpteen attempts and near-bankruptcy finally wins the Spot The Ball competition.

Pauline’s Party Cheesecake.  The party definitely always starts when Pauline brings out her cheesecake. She should get together with the Brown family and their Emergency Party Flan. It’ll be a blast!

Brain Biscuits – er, no thank you, I think I’ll pass. After all that lot, I’m on a diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Hampton Caught

The rants and ramblings of an ex Deputy Fiction Editor of Woman's Weekly magazine.

2 thoughts on “COOKING THE BOOKS – CHAPTER FOUR”

  1. Yes, I remember the Jimmy Young show. Isn’t it a good thing to have spent our formative years before the internet? I know the 70’s childhood was boring at times, but what fond memories we have of the few forms of entertainment there were. Our Tune on the Dave Lee Travis show was the highlight of a morning at work. Who said ‘Pop Pickers’ in his show? Don’t think that was Jimmy Young, maybe Alan Freeman? Thank you for stirring up fond memories once again. XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it was Alan Freeman, Rosie. My sister and I were glued to our parents’ stereo player, busily taping the chart rundown every week on our cassette recorders. Fond memories indeed! X

      Like

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