Whilst Charlotte was up a couple of weeks ago she had wanted to have her first outing to look at wedding dresses, so we found ourselves in Sheffield at 'Hunters Bar' (a place not a pub) earlier than our appointment with the dress shop so leaving us with time on our hands. It was suggested by Becky (who was also with us) that we might have a coffee to fill the time in. Whilst walking along enjoying the huge variety of shops on Sharrow Vale Road we spotted this little place
which struck us as just the right kind of place, and indeed it was. A cosy tea shop with mismatched chairs, squashy sofas and a book shelf with cookery books on for you to look at whilst enjoying your coffee. Becky who was right by the shelf pull this one off, initially attracted by the title on the spine and then by the cover
What attracted me was the illustration in the top left corner - yes Milly, Molly, Mandy! Even before I said anything it had been spotted by Becky saying 'I loved Milly, Molly, Mandy I can remember you used to read it to me, and the book was falling to pieces because it was yours' I guess many of you reading this know her and her friend 'Little Friend Susan' and of course 'Billy Blunt'. By this time Charlotte was also leaning over to get a look and pages were being turned. The more turned the more squeals of delight came from us all as so many of our favourite book characters were revealed. Unfortunately the book had to be left behind as we went for our allotted time at the wedding dress shop but I made a mental note of the title with a view to getting hold of one and putting it away for one of the girls for Christmas (I'm not generally this organised).
Once our house quietened down I looked the book up on Amazon - you can find it here and ordered one. It soon arrived and I settled down to have a good look and like a good fiction book I couldn't put it down. It came about due to discussions between Jane Brocket and her daughter on the food mentioned in story books. Jane started to do some research and linked the 'book food' to recipes and so the book was written. Page after page, I relived stories from my childhood and the illustrations brought back so many memories that I soon realised that this book would be in my Christmas stocking and not in one of the girls.
Here is a taster of it starting with Milly Molly Mandy
on another page Milly Molly Mandy bakes 'Little patty-pan sultana cakes'
Do you remember this illustration?
It's the first time Anne, Julian and Dick met Timmy the dog in Five on Treasure Island. The Famous Five feature throughout the cookery book - not surprising really as food was rather important to them whether they were camping, caravaning or locked in a dungeon. There are recipes for 'Aunt Fanny's treacly, sticky ginger cake' and 'Very last mouthful cherry cake' as made by Mrs Johnson in Five go to Mystery Moor.
But who are these children?
Do you need to count them are do you recognise the picture? I know I did when I saw it - I guess you've got it, The Secret Seven of course! Peter and Janet's Mother always provided the secret society with food for their meetings including jam tarts, chocolate biscuits, Janet's homemade lemonade and rock buns, the recipe for which is provided.
There are so many other books represented too many to mention but I could not finish without writing about these children
To me so easily recognisable through the authors's illustrations, it can only be Authur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons. As a child I read and re-read those books time and time again, Swallows and Amazons being my favourite. My parents sailed an Enterprise dingy and whilst they were involved in the races on Welbeck Great Lake my brother and I would potter around in our small sailing dingy just like John, Susan, Tltty and Rodger. Out of my three children it was Becky who took to Arthur Ransome, buying those books that I hadn't had as a child. However all of them loved the film which we still have on video somewhere, watching it time and time again. We took great delight in seeking out the places from the books and film when we were in the lake district, looking for the secret harbour on Wild Cat Island otherwise known as Peel Island on Coniston Water used in the film. So it was to a recipe linked to Swallows and Amazons that I chose to make to take away in the caravan last week - Bunloaf. Not as you might imagine a bread like loaf but a rich spicy fruit loaf and here is the finished result
Well I hope I've not bored you, but instead brought back childhood memories. What is so lovely about this book is the fact that in it you have illustrations from many books and instead of those books being packed away in a loft as ours are, you are reminded of them in a cookery book that is on the shelf downstairs and used on a regular basis.
I've still not got quite to the end of it yet but we are off to Richmond in the caravan this weekend so I will be taking it to finish then and deciding what to bake next!
Have a lovely holiday weekend and I hope the sun shines for you. Anne xx