Wednesday, December 13, 2006


“The making of a perfect loaf of bread is the goal of all those who aspire to excel in cookery; and the art of bread-making requires not only a clear understanding of the underlying principles, but patience and persistence in experimentation and practice until a uniformly perfect product is achieved. The fact that in yeast we have a living organism with which to deal makes the whole process a delicate one, in which every detail is of importance, whether it be a matter of ingredients, proportions, methods of mixing, or temperature.”

The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery, 1948

While it is true that bread making can be a bit tricky, I am sure that I would never have tried my hand at bread making if I had read this first! I’m glad my Nanny wasn’t so concerned with a perfect finished product when she taught me bread making basics! I’ve had a few ‘flops’ for sure, but nothing that wasn’t edible in some form! I can just imagine a young bride being given this volume as a wedding shower gift and being overwhelmed!

We found this old encyclopedia in the ‘rubble’ left in our home when we moved in two years ago and have just recently taken the time to sort through and ‘distribute’ the contents of those boxes. There were a few ‘treasures’ and this book was one of them. I am finding the contents most interesting and educational; the pictures are quaint and there are foods here that I have never even heard of! Of course, I am just a simple cook!

The attitude of striving for excellence in everyday cookery in this book is so refreshing. A marked difference from that of today where the goal of many seems to be ‘quick and easy’ and ‘real’ home cooking takes place only for special family occasions. I’m glad to be seeing so many blogs where women care about excellence in feeding their families, and where cookery is once again a joy and not a drudgery!

1 comment:

  1. I would have been scared to make bread for the first time after reading that too! LOL I have a cookbook from that era also, and you are right, they seem to make every meal special and nice.


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