I grew up with a Mum who thought all meals come with dessert. In face, the quality of her table was amazing. And one of my most treasured possessions is the Good Housekeeping cookbook of hers that I have. It is full of the type of elementary information that so many of us wouldn’t know how to ask, these days; from how to skin the chicken to how to melt the suet, and so on. It has these ornate colour plate photos in them, beautifully stylised, showing the most perfect and unrealistic food for a woman with six uncultured hungry kids. Fish chowders. Souffles.
Any way, one other thing she did was collect and gather recipe leaflets, those Bord Bia or whatever people that gave out recipes for yule logs or turkeys or what have you. One of them was a Cadbury’s Bourville leaflet, that gave out chocolate recipes, that I loved. I was never able to find it after she died, but I remember Saturday afternoons making something called a ‘Hot Milk Chocolate Cake’. The description of it was really evocative, and conveyed a tone from the writer like something from the Ascendancy; “I first recall making this cake on an old wooden stove in Kenya. Its richness defies description”.
I’d love to have that leaflet again, just to remind myself of the boring Saturday afternoons of my teenage life that I tried to fill up with stuff, having to get the kitchen cleaned before dinner would start and my sisters would want to watch Blind Date. I even contacted Cadbury’s, asking them about it, but they couldn’t locate it. Ah well. All good things.