I recently came into possession of this lovely old recipe book. Lovingly kept, its pages are yellowed, its cover lost, the edges tattered and torn, but on the front cover is this charming little ‘recipe.’
How to Preserve Children’s Lives
Take one large grassy field.
One half-dozen children.
Two or three small dogs.
A pinch of brook and some pebbles.
Mix children and dogs well together and put them in the field, stirring constantly. Pour the brook over the pebbles. Sprinkle the field with flowers. Spread over all a deep blue sky and bake in a hot sun. When brown remove and set to cool in a bath-tub.
No pictures, no flashy photographs, no food stylists employed and each recipe is listed by date(?) I am grateful that it has found its way into my care, bestowed upon me by fate and I will house it in safekeeping. Simple and plain, wholesome and honest, the instructions are succinct and the outcomes traditional, salt-of-the-earth goodness. There’s potato scallops, tomato chutney, salted almonds and lamingtons. Delicious.
Then there are a few quirky recipes. Have you ever heard of cheese bubble bread, velvet pudding, Campbell busters, kornies or matrimony tart? Well, I hadn’t and I have the recipes if you’d like them.
Why this world-weary book is so refreshing and evocative of such strong sentiment is different for us all. But at its heart I think it touches on our human need for simplicity, tradition and history. Amid everything that flashes and blinks, whistles and beeps, the key to happiness still lies in a large grassy field filled with children and pets, next a bubbling brook and a picnic hamper filled with love.
The Best of All Recipes.