First, a very kind friend found an old hand written recipe/household book her Mother wrote around the War period and rationing and gave it to me. It's falling apart, stained and faded, and quite simply one of the most beautiful old books i have ever handled. It gives such an insight into how people lived and what they ate and how they looked after their homes. The recipes for cakes ask for egg powder (!), and there's little tips such as homemade metal polish and even china cement - presumably if they dropped a cup or a bowl they couldn't just toss it away and instead found ways of mending it. But one page just grabbed me, and it's simply titled, Grandma's War Cake. This is the recipe copied verbatim:
2 cups Brown Sugar
2 cups hot water
1/4 lard or dripping
1lb of fruit
1 teaspoon salt
1 cinnamon or 1 and half allspice
Boil together for 5 minutes. When cold add 3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon carb. soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water. Bake in two loaves for 45 minutes in slow oven.
I haven't tried making it yet, so if anyone else does, could you let me know how you get on as I just love the idea of it! Alternatively as soon as i can i''l make it myself and blog about it here.
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What next... Ah, my dad's old mate Len Goodman sent me an email
What a lovely guy he is. Dad and Len were best mates for donkey's years, all well before Len became famous with the TV show Strictly. Dad used to tell stories about the two of them, and i wrote a funny article about them for my newspaper column, and it seems someone sent Len a clipping and he emailed me to say he found it 'interesting', ha-ha! Len's a star, in every sense of the world!
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The book is going great guns, and i'm being booked up for radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, all of which i will of course blog right here. Amongst all of this i'm supposed to be hedging, and will do my best to post on that soon.