Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Old books and camp tales

A post by Fiona over at The Frugal Cook got me musing about the lure and value of old cookery books. I love them - I haunt the local Oxfam bookshop, and last week bagged The Moosewood Cookbook, which I'd wanted for some time. One of my favourite old books is my mother's copy of Good Housekeeping, circa 1957 (the pic is the baking version of similar vintage). My mother didn't own many cookery books - no money for that sort of thing - but this one was closest to being her bible. At the moment it's up in Anglesey, so I can't check this out, but I'm fairly sure her recipes for liver casserole, kedgeree, and her many cakes, came from Good Housekeeping. And my favourite pudding recipe comes from this tome: apple charlotte made not with bread but with a breadcrumb, suet and sugar mix. I'd never seen this recipe anywhere else until quite recently, when I saw it in a (second-hand) Katie Stewart book.
I used to love looking at the adverts in the GHK book - many for kitchen appliances that even ten years later were looking hopelessly outdated. Most of the photos are in black and white, with a few colour 'plates' of dubious hue.

More relevant were ads like this: well into the 60s, my mum was making coffee using Camp Coffee. I thought the resulting brew was vile, and it's one of the food products that probably divides the generations.

Camp Coffee is a peculiar mix - 26% is chicory essence. It's been made in Scotland since 1876. Three years ago, the label that I remember from childhood underwent a makeover, from this:

to this:

Are we sitting comfortably? The Daily Mail went wild with talk of political correctness, but I think it's the right move. Even if the Sikh gentleman does look a little uncomfortable. He's probably wondering why the hell he can't have tea instead.


Chow and Chatter said...

cute post i remember making coffee cream for cake with camp coffee, I have the newest version of the book!

Dan said...

aha - another frequenter of Charity shops for cookbooks...I've had some right finds, Alain Duccasse Spoon cookbook (Out of print - yours for £180 on Amazon) - mines missing the dustjacket £3!!

Nigellas rather Hefty tome 'how to eat' - also £3.

As for camp coffee - when I was a kid, I used to visit my Grandparents in East Ham and they always had it. I was intrigued and always wondered what it tasted like - imagining it to be sweet like syrup. To this day, I've still never tried it.

fran39 said...

Chow - thanks! I'm amazed to find that Camp is still on sale. And I'll have a look out for the latest Moosewood.
Dan - great finds. And thanks for the yummy bacon and egg pie recipe. I made a version last night and will be blogging it later.

meemalee said...

That's hilarious about the Camp coffee label :)

As for the syrup itself, I've heard it's very nasty but I've never tried it either.

I always used to think wine would taste like lovely grape juice and never really got over the disappointment ...