It isn't often that I get a Sunday morning to myself, and my afternoon had already been hijacked because we were off to Duffy's Circus later, but on Sunday I woke early, made a pot of coffee (I'm finally working my way up to real coffee instead of instant) and settled down for a morning of reading, or perhaps more accurately, page flicking.
I can't imagine a world without books, old and new, filled with real pages. Books have a smell and a feel that I just couldn't be without. I love blogs too, don't be worrying but those handheld digital readers which come preloaded with the classics make me very sad.
Sunday morning was spent flicking through these two books.
I've been through Beeton's Book of Household Management from cover to cover, time and time again, but it's still a favourite of mine.
It isn't really a cookery book, it's more of a guide book and was probably a necessity for new housewifes in it's day, giving advice on how to buy, cook, hire staff (yes please), stain removal, the raising of children and just about everything else you could think of. If you remember a program which was on tv years ago called "The Great British Picnic", this is the book they followed to get it right. The picnic was intended to feed 40 and if I had wrote the book it would have included about four loaves of sandwichs, bowlfuls of chicken wings and enough cake and fizzy drinks to top everyone off, but Mrs Beeton's list includes 14 full roasts of meat, 4 pies, 6 lobsters 18 lettuce and 6 baskets of salad......inhale...... stewed fruit, 4 dozen biscuits, 2 dozen fruit turnovers, 4 dozen cheesecakes, 11 puddings and cakes, 13 loaves of bread and 6lb of butter, not forgeting the champagne, wine, juice and 1/2lb of tea along with cups and saucers, with coffee apparently being too much faff for a picnic.
And believe it or not, people are fatter today!
But it's still a brilliant book to flick through and I have tried many of the recipes. I always have a giggle at the inscription. Clearly Jack had no problems in giving his wife hints:) Even with the mouthful above it does have some great information, most of which is based on frugal living and it also includes a fully seasonal bill of fare to feed anything from 6 to 80 people for each month of the year.
The book was first published as 24 monthly installments starting in 1858 and then as a bound book in 1861. This is a facsimile reprinted in 1968.
I do love new books too and one that has had my attention for a while is The Rowan Story Book of Little Knits. It's a couple of years old now, but Rowan's knits and patterns are very classic styles and don't date with the passing of a year the way some patterns do.
The first portion of the book is written as a story book with the patterns for each piece at the back.
And I've already bookmarked a few things to make for Chloe.
Now I just need a few more lazy Sunday mornings to make a start.