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British cooking at its best

I found a wonderful recipe book in my mother’s bookshelf yesterday – her grandmother’s turn of the last century, very British, yellowing and crumbling cookbook, that her daughter, my grandmother, used in her village kitchen. I’d like to share a few recipes with you; I hope you’ll tackle them forthwith. These are copied verbatim.

Get’s a pig’s tongue, boil it gently for 2 hours till tender. Remove the skin and root and put it through a mincer; add 1/2 a teaspoonful of salt, some grated nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Melt 1 oz. of butter, mix one half of it with the tongue, press into mould or dish, and pour the remaining butter on top. This will be found a very nice relish for breakfast. Tested and found good.

The recipe SAVOURY SHEEP’S HEAD begins, Soak the sheep’s head overnight in plenty of salt and water. The section on asparagus suggests boiling it for 20 or 30 minutes.

Take a sheep’s stomach bag along with liver, heart, and sweetbreads. Wash stomach bag and soak in cold salted water for 20 hours. Plunge into boiling water, then take out, and turn outside in to scrape thoroughly. Then put back in salt and water until needed. Wash liver, heart etc. and boil for about 1 hour. Grate half of the liver and mince the heart, cutting away any skin or gristle. Mince 1/2 lb of suet and toast 1/2 a pound of oatmeal before the fire. Boil 1 or 2 onions for 10 minutes. Chop finely and mix all of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper, moisten with about 1/2 a pint of stock or water, mix well together. Put mixture into stomach bag. Do not fill more than 3/4 full. Prick bag with a needle. Sew up and drop into boiling water. Boil for 5 hours.


I go home today. We’ve had a great visit; I have done a ton of cooking, though unfortunately not haggis or any other part of a sheep’s body, and right now, we are sorting and organizing (and I surruptitiously throwing out) the toppling mountain of paper and bills. We’ve laughed a great deal and argued not at all. It has been a joy. Now I’m exhausted and need to go back to my own chaos.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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