So, I have this lovely set of old books called The Book of the Home series and it’s full of useful tips. This set was printed in 1905 and feature plates by Arthur Rackham. I got them on Ebay during one of my sessions looking for old cookery books. They aren’t in perfect condition, but are interesting none-the-less. There are eight books in total.
Anyway, I’ve been flicking through the fourth book in the series and it’s quite wonderful. There are recipes for savoury and sweets, information about servants and what they should be doing around the house (as well as what they should be wearing in the morning and then later in the day), household economy and laundry work. There are fantastic illustrations throughout and photographs.
Here’s a weird recipe from the book, it’s called Crème Verte (Green Cream). For it you need three-quarters of a pint of cream, one teaspoonful of spinach greening (whatever that is), castor sugar, vanilla essence, oranges, bananas and half a pint of lightly frozen ice cream.
You quarter the oranges, take off the pith and pips and make a layer of them in a deep compote dish. Peel and slice the bananas and lay them over the oranges. Cover the fruit with the ice cream. Whip the cream with a pinch of salt til firm and rocky. When it is beginning to thicken, colour it with the spinach juices or some green colouring; sweeten to taste and complete the whisking. Pile over the ice cream.
Apart from colouring the cream with spinach juice, this recipe actually seems okay. Not able to be done by the ordinary working-class person in 1905, but I’m sure the middle and upper classes might have had it.
For nowadays, it’s quite a cheap pudding. I may even give it a go although I will use green (or no) colouring for the cream on top. Why does it need to be green anyway?