At a car boot sale last year I bought 50 copies of Cook's Weekly magazine for £2. They all date from the mid-80s and I wanted them because I remember reading Babcia's copies of this (and another magazine from the same era called 'Home and Freezer Digest' - anybody remember that?). I wrote yesterday about finding old stuff from my younger days comforting didn't I? And also I hoped I might find some frugal ideas and recipes between their pages, which I did.
I don't know whether it's something to do with the printing processes in the 80s but everything looks strangely garish and not particularly appetising (one way of being frugal I guess - nothing looks good enough to eat). And I don't remember there being such a reliance on offal either...Chinese-Style Liver anyone?
It's interesting to see how ideas that we take for granted nowadays were just starting to be mooted 25 years ago - there's an article in the December 86 issue that talks about sugar-free items and mentions that research suggests 'a hyperactive child will benefit from a diet low in sugar'. But in November 86 there was a section on cooking for a 'Difficult-People Dinner Party'. The 'difficult people' in question are vegans (who did you think it was going to be???!) and the suggested menu is Carrot and Bean Pate, Curried Vegetables and Ginger and Cashew Nut Ice Cream in case you're interested....
I was quite surprised to see an article on fillings for tacos because I wouldn't have thought Mexican food was all that common back then, certainly not in our neck of the woods anyway!
Each issue also has 'A Run Down The Aisles' which gives supermarkets' prices for various different items...I'm assuming these were current special offers. Co-Op was selling 500g plus 20% free Buitoni Short Spaghetti for 39p and Bird's Whisk and Serve Custard at 19p for 69g. I don't know about you but that's what I'd pay now for those items (though not those brands) in Asda or Lidl. The prices given for Tesco show a far bigger change over the years; for example Wall's Pork and Turkey Sausages were just 79p for 1lb plus 25% extra, whilst Tesco Golden Almond Marzipan was 97p for 500g. I think I paid more than double that for Sainsbury's own brand when I made my Simnel Cake a couple weeks back. And do you remember Fine Fare stores, and Bejam?
Despite some of the recipes being a bit odd (Avocado Mille-Feuille! Bacon-Stuffed Celery! Life's too short to stuff a mushroom so it's DEFINITELY too short to stuff a stick of celery!) these little magazines are packed with hints, tips and good ideas. I found out how to make Sloe Gin, how to boil a tongue, and how to skin a rabbit. For a good laugh there is the 'Memorable Meals' section where a famous person of the day describes their most memorable meal; what they like to cook and where they like to eat. Some I'd totally forgotten about (Debbie Greenwood? Mavis Nicholson?) but here's one famous face who is still around today...
Little did he know that his destiny was to one day be 'King of the Jungle'!!!