Friday, June 19, 2009

Cooking night tonight

With ten of us living on the island, cooking night only comes around once a week or so. It is usually shared between two of us and the roster seems to accommodate vegetarians and omnivores equally.

We have a fine array of cookbooks to provide the necessary inspiration when your turn comes around.

A good proportion of these books come inscribed with loving messages from anxious mums who were sending off sons to what was once a remote all-male environment. They probably imagined them starving in the absence of a maternal figure, so the Edmonds Cookbook was obviously seen as an acceptable surrogate (we have about four of these: not surprising since it's NZ's best selling book of all time). One in this broad 'maternal' set caught my eye- it’s called “ma cuisine” and once belonged to someone called brownie. Spooky. Another is a very early edition of Alison Holst’s “Food Without Fuss” and doesn’t Alison look a mere slip of a girl in the photo on the back cover?

Another I really like is the Rere School Cookbook, 1992. Rere is 45km west of Gisborne and boasts one of the most beautiful waterfalls and the longest rockslide in NZ. The rockslide’s probably been banned by Health and Safety rules since the book was published.

The cookbook is full of great practical recipes like Babies’ Nappy Soakers and Elephant Stew (feeds 4000). However, I hope I am not breaching copyright by sharing the following listing with you:

How To Preserve a Husband
Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young. Once selected, give your entire thoughts to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping them in a pickle, others are constantly getting them into hot water. This may make them sour, hard and sometimes bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet and tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap them in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared they will keep for years.

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