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Grandma's Recipes

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Grandma’s recipes brings together recipes from a group of women related to the editor. They lived in Toowoomba, Queensland, from 1910 onwards. The recipes represent home-cooking through the twentieth century, when the Depression and World War II affected daily lives dramatically. Reading the recipes offers a glimpse of the lives of mothers and home-makers – a role that is hidden from society at large, but represents a big influence on family, friends and neighbours.Wendy Pang presents recipes with metric measurements where possible, so that they can be enjoyed today. There are also recipes that readers will wonder at, but probably not want to recreate – like recipes for making coffee from wheat. Enjoy the recipes. Cook them, and remember the hard-working women who went before us.

Text of Grandma's Recipes

Page 1: Grandma's Recipes

Grandma’s recipesGrandma’s recipesGrandma’s recipesGrandma’s recipes

Edited by Wendy Pang

Page 2: Grandma's Recipes

Grandma’s recipesGrandma’s recipesGrandma’s recipesGrandma’s recipes

Edited by Wendy Pang

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Special thanks to Sandra Routley for passing on Lizzie Moody’s recipes and sparking the idea that recipes are something

that link us to the women in our history. Thanks also to:

Irma Gold, University of Canberra, for her guidance through the project

Adrienne, Deb, Kate, and Rhonda — fellow editors in the Advanced Editing course, for thoughtful suggestions

Michael Pang, for the graphic design

Copyright holders for recipe text and photos: Kenneth Draney, Roy and Spencer Featherstone, Rose Komduur, Gay

Middleton, Robert and Wendy Pang, and Sandra Routley.

Grandma's Recipes

ISBN: 978-0-9806119-0-8 (online)

ISBN: 978-0-9806119-1-5 (paperback)

Publication date: January 2009

Recommended retail price: $0.00

Published and edited by

Wendy Pang

17 Cloncurry St

Kaleen 2617



[email protected]

61 2 6241 4487

Some rights reserved.

Read http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Catalog-in-publishing data for more information.

Computer typeset in Calibri, Cambria and Scriptina

Printed in Canberra, Australia and also distributed electronically

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Lizzie Moody From Yorkshire to Toowoomba in 1910 11

Dot Featherstone Making do in the Depression – the thirties 16

Sarah Jane Bailey A widow raising nine children alone – the thirties 23

Elsie McAllan Holding dreams of better times – the forties 25

Ruth Draney Raising a family through the church – the fifties 27

Rea Featherstone The fifties housewife 29

Emmie Featherstone Country hospitality in town – the sixties



From the editor

Cooking terms and ingredients

Oven temperatures


Photos Permissions 43

Index 44

Page 6: Grandma's Recipes



In June 2007, I cooked a nostalgic dinner using favourite recipes from my mother Rea Featherstone.

The meal was to celebrate my sister Judy’s visit from the United States. It included my brother

Spencer’s and my families.

Afterwards, I started to write out my mother’s recipes to share with everyone. Then I realised that

the recipe book should include recipes from grandmothers, my mother and aunts. My cousin Rose

Komduur sent me my grandmother Dot Featherstone’s Depression-era recipe book. My relative

Sandra Routley sent me her grandmother’s recipes, reminding me that keeping their recipes alive is

a way to remember our grandmothers.

In the days when communities were small, most men were remembered for their contribution to the

community in an obituary. The contribution our mothers and grandmothers made is rarely

recognised this way. Some of them left England never to return, like Dot Featherstone and Lizzie

Moody. Others were second-generation Australians like Rea and her sisters Elsie McAllen and Ruth

Draney. They were the wives of working men – average Anglo-Celtic Australians. They pass down to

us their way of speech, their linen and jewellery, their sewing machines and recipes.

I hope you will cook some of these recipes and smile at others, remembering our grandmothers.

Wendy Pang


December 2008

Page 7: Grandma's Recipes


LizzieLizzieLizzieLizzie MoodyMoodyMoodyMoody

From Yorkshire to Toowoomba in 1910

Elizabeth Basterfield married John William (Jack) Moody in England, probably in the 1890s. They had

four children before they decided to migrate to Toowoomba, Queensland, on SS Orvieto in

September 1911. Their last child, also called John William (Bill) was born in Toowoomba. The family

never returned to Britain.

They left Britain at a turbulent time. After Edward VII died in 1910, there were extensive strikes of

seamen and miners, dockers and railwaymen. Suffragettes were protesting vigorously. By coming to

Australia, Lizzie gained the right to vote earlier than women in Britain.

Lizzie settled into life in Toowoomba. Jack had a mixed business in Middlesborough, opposite the

Hippodrome, and sold it before they left. In Toowoomba, as a first-class coach painter, he set up a

coach-painting business. That business later employed young Bill and his cousin Don Featherstone.

Although it isn’t difficult to find out about Jack’s life, it is more difficult to find out about Lizzie. She

was a home-maker, and raised five children. She has left us some recipes, and through this tenuous

link, we have a picture of Lizzie’s connection to the land of her birth.

Lizzie’s granddaughter Sandra Routley, daughter of Lizzie’s son Les, sent me Lizzie’s Yorkshire

recipes, with a reminder that we should not lose the recipes, as they are our heritage.

Page 8: Grandma's Recipes

Lizzie Moody


LizzieLizzieLizzieLizzie MoodyMoodyMoodyMoody’s recipes’s recipes’s recipes’s recipes

From Yorkshire to Toowoomba in 1910

� Peanut parkins

� Popovers

� Yorkshire bran loaf

� Yorkshire cheese cake

� Yorkshire fruit cake

� Yorkshire pudding

Page 9: Grandma's Recipes

Lizzie Moody


���� Peanut parkins

These biscuits are delicious. They cool quickly and need to be lifted off the tray before they cool, because they



1 ¼ cups sugar

1 cup plain flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup

grated rind of orange or lemon

½ teaspoon each of ginger, mixed spice,

bicarbonate of soda

¼ cup boiling water

a few peanuts


Mix dry ingredients.

Melt butter and syrup.

Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in ¼ cup boiling


Mix well.

Add peanuts.

Place small pieces on a greased oven slide.

Bake in a moderate oven (180° C).

Leave plenty of room as they spread – 5 or 6 to

the tray at a time is plenty.

���� Popovers

When they are done on one side they pop over by themselves. Granddaughter Sandra used to eat them with

syrup or jam.


1 egg

¾ cup milk

pinch nutmeg

pinch salt

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup flour


Beat egg and milk.

Add nutmeg, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

Sift cream of tartar into flour.

Beat well.

Fry walnut-sized balls in deep boiling fat.

���� Yorkshire bran loaf (sticky bread)

Use any cup size.


1 cup of each of the following:

All Bran

moist brown sugar

seedless raisins


self-raising flour


Stir first 4 ingredients and leave overnight.

Stir in flour.

Put into loaf tin and cook for 1–1½ hours at

325° F (160° C).

Page 10: Grandma's Recipes

Lizzie Moody


���� Yorkshire cheese cake

Lizzie’s granddaughter Sandra suggests cottage cheese or ricotta instead of curds. Junket tablet is a source of


Ingredients – curds

(no quantities given)



Directions – curds

Add rennet to milk and strain, or use sour milk

and strain off whey.

Ingredients – cheese cake

2 eggs

2 ounces sugar (60 g)

2 teaspoons melted butter, if desired

2 ounces currants (60 g)

½ pound curds (250 g)

rind of a lemon

uncooked plain pastry case

nutmeg to sprinkle on top

Directions – cheese cake

Beat eggs and sugar and add melted butter, if


Stir in currants.

Add curds.

Put into an uncooked plain pastry case. Sprinkle

with nutmeg.

Cook until firm in a fairly slow oven (170° C).

���� Yorkshire fruit cake

To be eaten with cheese. Traditionally all the fruit and nuts are ground. I’ve suggested some directions, as none

were provided.


1½ tablespoons plain flour

1½ tablespoons caster sugar

1½ tablespoons butter

12 eggs

2 pound currants (1 kg)

¼ pound sultanas (125 g)

¼ pound lemon peel (finely ground) (125 g)

¼ pound ground almonds (125 g)

¼ pound cherries (125 g)

1 nutmeg, grated

1 glass rum

1 teaspoon ground mace or black treacle

1 uncooked plain pastry case


Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs.

Add flour and spices to ground fruits.

Combine all ingredients.

Cook pastry case filled with weights such as dried

peas, in oven for about 15 mins. Remove peas

when cooked.

Put mixture into cooled pastry case.

Cook in a slow oven (150° C) for a long time –

test after 1½ hrs.

Page 11: Grandma's Recipes

Lizzie Moody


���� Yorkshire pudding

A savoury pudding, this traditional British dish is to be served with roast meat and gravy. The Yorkshire pudding

should rise into hills and valleys. The critical thing is to get the right sized tin for the recipe, and for the fat to be

really hot.


1 egg

salt and pepper

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon cold water

2 rounded tablespoons flour


Mix well together and leave in refrigerator for at

least an hour.

Pour batter into hot fat in a baking tray.

Cook in hot oven (230° C).

Page 12: Grandma's Recipes


Dot Featherstone Dot Featherstone Dot Featherstone Dot Featherstone

Making do in the Depression – the thirties

Dot and Joe Featherstone followed her brother Jack Moody and his wife Lizzie a few months later

from Middlesborough to Toowoomba. Dot, Joe and their five boys arrived in Australia on

SS Themistocles in January 1912. It was the same summer as Roald Amundsen reached the South

Pole and Sir Robert Scott perished on the way back from it. This period of Antarctic exploration has

been called the Heroic Age. I think that a woman who takes her family of five boys to the other side

of the world, never again to see her eight other brothers and sisters, is heroic. Her sixth son, Ian

(pronounced iron but known as Jack), was born in Toowoomba.

Dot, born Eliza Dorothy Moody, was thirty-six when she arrived. She had long hair, and wore long

dresses and corsets, in the style of the time. She must have been glad when the twenties arrived.

Hems went up, corsets were abandoned, and hair was cropped.

She started writing her recipe book in 1931, when she was in her fifties. 1932 was the worst year of

the Depression in Australia. By then her boys were young men. Bill and youngest brother Jack, with a

few mates, an old truck and an Alsatian dog, made their way from Maryborough in Queensland to

Cairns, buying apples in bulk and selling them door-to-door to make a living.

The recipes in Dot’s recipe book reflect a time when neighbours called each other ‘Mrs Langsdorff’

or ‘Mrs Featherstone’. In spite of the difficult times, they made eye masks for their beauty routine,

and lotions for their hard-working hands. The life of a railwayman’s wife was not easy during the

Depression. If people wanted beer or coffee, they made it at home. Visiting the doctor was rare, so

housewives had many home remedies for their large families.

Dot’s small black recipe book was given to me in 2007 by my cousin Rose. It is a glimpse of a difficult

period in Dot’s life.

Page 13: Grandma's Recipes

Dot Featherstone


Dot FeatherstoneDot FeatherstoneDot FeatherstoneDot Featherstone’s recipes’s recipes’s recipes’s recipes

Making do in the Depression – the thirties

Recipes Home remedies

� Gem scones with anchovy butter � Cure for chilblains

� Mock brains � Cure for indigestion

� Tomato salad � Cure for rheumatism

� Malt biscuits � Egg mask

� Beer � Fruit salts

� Coffee � To soften hands

� Tonic for nervous and digestive systems

Page 14: Grandma's Recipes

Dot Featherstone


���� Gem scones with anchovy butter

A gem scone iron is a small metal baking tray with semi-circular depressions for the gem scones, which rise to

create ball shapes. This is Dot’s recipe with Rea’s anchovy butter. Serve some gem scones with butter and some

with anchovy butter. I have suggested directions.

Ingredients – gem scones

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

1½ cups flour

1½ teaspoons cream of tartar

¾ teaspoon soda

pinch salt

Directions – gem scones

Preheat gem scone irons in hot oven.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add egg and milk alternately with sifted dry


Take the gem irons out of the oven. Put a

tablespoon of mixture in each of the gem iron


Bake in hot oven (230° C) for 10 minutes or less.

Serve hot.

Ingredients – anchovy butter

1 tablespoon butter

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons Anchovette or ½ teaspoon anchovy


pinch cayenne

1 teaspoon vinegar

Directions – anchovy butter

Mix all ingredients together well.

���� Mock brains

Sounds better than the real thing. From the days when mothers cooked breakfast.


1 cup rolled oats

½ cup boiling water

parsley, chopped

onion, chopped

1 egg


salt and pepper


Cook oats in water with parsley and onion.

When well cooked and thick, put in basin to set.

Then cut in slices and fry to a nice golden brown

in egg and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

Page 15: Grandma's Recipes

Dot Featherstone


���� Tomato salad

When she was first married, Aussie Rea Featherstone was somewhat shocked by English Dot Featherstone’s

Yorkshire approach to tomato salad.


tomatoes, sliced



Spread sliced tomatoes out on a serving dish.

Pour a generous amount of vinegar over.


���� Malt biscuits

Rea’s copy of this recipe shows she was still calling her mother-in-law ‘Mrs Featherstone’ four years after she

was married.


4 ounces butter (125 g)

½ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon malt extract

1 tablespoon golden syrup

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1½ cups flour

1½ cups rolled oats

1 cup coconut

pinch salt


Put first 4 ingredients into a saucepan and bring

to boil.

Add bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a little

warm water.

Have dry ingredients ready in a bowl.

Pour hot syrup over dry ingredients and mix into

a dough.

Make walnut sized balls of dough and flatten on

oven tray.

Bake in moderate oven (180° C) about

10 minutes or until golden brown.

Page 16: Grandma's Recipes

Dot Featherstone


���� Beer

Yes, beer. You’ll have to guess how big a packet of hops is, if you make this recipe.


tin golden syrup

large tin malt

3 pounds sugar (1.5 kg)

1 teaspoon salt

½ packet hops

about 2 cups yeast


Boil hops in 4 gallons (16 litres) water for

20 minutes. Add salt.

Put in syrup and malt when moderately cool.

When at blood heat, add yeast and allow to work

about 60 hours skimming each day twice.

Bottle and cap securely.

���� Coffee

Two ways to make ‘coffee’. In the Depression, there was no money for luxuries like coffee. Dot didn’t specify

how much treacle is needed.

Ingredients – version 1

1 pound wheat (500 g)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

Directions – version 1

Mix all ingredients.

Brown in oven.

Put through mincer.

Ingredients – version 2

2 cups bran

1 cup oatmeal

pinch salt

black treacle

Directions – version 2

Damp dry ingredients with treacle and brown

well in oven.

Put through mincer.

���� Cure for chilblains

For those frosty Toowoomba winters.


one fair-sized potato

water to cover



Peel potato then cut into pieces about ¼ inch

(7 mm) thick.

Place in basin and cover with salt.

Stand for 8 to 12 hours.

Strain juice, and keep in a bottle.

Sponge affected parts with juice.

Page 17: Grandma's Recipes

Dot Featherstone


���� Cure for indigestion

A sixpenny coin is like a five cent coin. A shilling is like a ten cent coin.


½ pound sultanas (250 g)

½ pound dried figs (250 g)

sixpence worth syrup of senna

sixpence worth Peruvian bark (powdered)

two shillings worth brandy


Chop all ingredients and mix with brandy.

Dose: 2 teaspoonsful every morning.

���� Cure for rheumatism

I suggest using cooked rhubarb. The amount of honey is up to you.


1 ounce sulphur (30 g)

1 ounce cream of tartar (30 g)

1 ounce rhubarb (30 g)



Warm honey. Mix thoroughly.

Dose: 2 teaspoonsful dissolved in tumbler of

water at night and early morning.

Can be flavoured with lemon juice or white wine.

���� Egg mask

Dot’s beauty treatment is not much different from the ones in women’s magazines today.


1 egg

few drops glycerine



Separate white from yolk of egg.

Beat white to stiff froth.

Add glycerine and apply mixture to face.

Steam face for a minute then smooth honey all

over the face and leave on for a few minutes.

���� Fruit salts

Presumably for using in the bath


¼ pound cream of tartar (125 g)

¼ pound tartaric acid (125 g)

¼ pound bicarbonate of soda (125 g)

½ pound icing sugar (250 g)

4 packets Epsom salts

1 ounce magnesia (30 g)


Mix thoroughly.

Keep in a securely corked bottle in a dry place.

Page 18: Grandma's Recipes

Dot Featherstone


���� To soften hands

For hands rough from too much housework. A one shilling coin is like a ten cent coin.


1 teaspoon powdered starch

juice of a lemon

half bottle glycerine (1 shilling size)


Mix starch and lemon juice.

Add glycerine and boil till clear.

Rub into hands at night.

���� Tonic for nervous and digestive systems

It makes me nervous to think what this would do to your digestive system.


1 pound eating prunes (500 g)

1 pound dates (500 g)

½ pound raisins (250 g)

½ pound currants (250 g)

½ pound sultanas (250 g)

1 pound figs (500 g)

1 ounce senna powder (30 g)

4 tablespoons honey


Put all fruit through mincer.

Add senna and honey.

Dose: 2 teaspoonsful before breakfast and on


Page 19: Grandma's Recipes


Sarah Jane BaileySarah Jane BaileySarah Jane BaileySarah Jane Bailey

A widow raising nine children alone – the thirties

Sarah Jane Risson was born in Australia, of English immigrant parents who settled at Ma Ma Creek,

at the foot of the Great Dividing Range. She grew up on a dairy farm carved out of the bush by her

father, and went to school at the school that her father and others petitioned the government to

build. Her husband Thomas Bailey’s story is similar. He was also a first-generation Australian, born of

Scottish parents, who lived in the next valley at Flagstone Creek.

When Thomas died after an accident at work as a carter in 1929, Sarah was left to raise those of her

nine children still left at home. Through the thirties and forties, Sarah worked as a cleaner and

laundress, and her younger children helped by picking up and delivering the laundry. My cousins

remember a woman who could never stand seeing an idle child, so she would always give them

something to do. She never had a holiday until her youngest daughter Rea took her to the Blue

Mountains, after Rea started work about 1940.

Sarah was a staunch member of the church, and made sure that all the children attended church and

Sunday School regularly. Youngest daughter Rea was awarded an engraved gold brooch, for not

missing a day at Sunday School for five years. Rea would walk to church, attend youth group, and

walk back to sister Ruth’s home to look after her young cousins while their parents attended church,

then she would take the children Sunday School. She would then walk them home, collect washing

from a family and take it to her home. She would then return in the evening for another service. She

would take the freshly ironed washing back on Monday.

It is hard to imagine when Sarah had time for fancy cooking, but my cousins clearly remember her

beautifully-presented rows of preserved fruit and vegetables on display in the kitchen.

Page 20: Grandma's Recipes

Sarah Jane Bailey


SSSSarah Jane Baileyarah Jane Baileyarah Jane Baileyarah Jane Bailey’s recipe’s recipe’s recipe’s recipe

A widow raising nine children alone – the thirties

���� Bread and butter cucumbers

Economical and easy to make.


3 medium cucumbers

1 pound onions (optional)(500 g)

1 large green pepper (capsicum)

¼ cup salt

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon mustard seed or 2 teaspoons

mustard powder if seed unavailable

½ teaspoon celery seed

2 cups white vinegar


Wash cucumbers and cut into very thin slices.

Peel onions and cut into thin slices.

Put cucumber and onion into a bowl with

coarsely grated capsicum.

Sprinkle with salt and stand 3 hours.

Drain and rinse under cold water.

Put brown sugar, turmeric, cloves, mustard seed,

celery seed and vinegar in a large saucepan.

Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and

liquid comes to the boil. Reduce heat and

simmer 5 minutes.

Add vegetables. Bring just to the boil. Remove

from heat.

Pack into sterilised jars. Pour liquid over and


Makes about 6 cups (1½ litres)

Page 21: Grandma's Recipes


Elsie McAllanElsie McAllanElsie McAllanElsie McAllan

Holding dreams of better times – the forties

Elsie Bailey was Rea’s eldest sister. There were twenty years between them. Elsie would have been

twenty-five when their father Thomas died unexpectedly. Because she was older, Elsie would have

been one less for her widowed mother to look after. Rea, the youngest, was only five, and there

were seven other brothers and sisters between the two of them.

Perhaps because of family responsibilities, or the Depression, Elsie didn’t marry until she was thirty-

four. She married Andy McAllan, a widower with a young son and daughter. Their happiness was

short-lived, as Elsie died seven years later.

Rea copied this recipe into her recipe book about nine years after her eldest sister had died in 1943.

Her recipe for a rich Christmas cake must date from before the war, because the ingredients would

not have been available during that time, with wartime rationing. There was no question of making a

cake with ten eggs. However, holding on to the dream of better times was important.

This recipe and these photos are all I have from my Auntie Elsie.

Page 22: Grandma's Recipes

Elsie McAllan


Elsie McAllaElsie McAllaElsie McAllaElsie McAllan’s recipe n’s recipe n’s recipe n’s recipe

Holding dreams of better times – the forties

���� Christmas cake

I have suggested some instructions as none were given. This cake should keep well.


3 pounds dried mixed fruit (1.4 kg )

orange juice

1 wineglass rum

1 pound butter (500 g)

1 pound brown sugar (500 g)

10 eggs

½ packet spice

1 nutmeg, grated


salt and pepper

1 pound flour (500 g)

2 ounces self-raising flour (60 g)

grated rind of a lemon

2 tablespoons milk


Mix dried fruits and soak in orange juice and

rum, preferably overnight.

Beat butter and brown sugar. Add eggs.

Add sifted dry ingredients and lemon rind. Mix

well, while adding milk.

Stir in fruit mixture.

Put in a cake tin, lined with brown paper so that

it is taller than the cake tin.

Cook in a moderately slow oven (170° C) for

1– 1½ hrs.

Page 23: Grandma's Recipes


Ruth Ruth Ruth Ruth DraneyDraneyDraneyDraney

Raising a family through the church – the fifties

Ruth and her older sister Elsie were born at Flagstone Creek, at the foot of the Great Dividing Range

where Toowoomba is situated. The girls went to school there before the family moved to

Toowoomba. Ruth was twenty-three years old when their father Thomas Bailey died. Ruth married

Ray Draney, a fellow church member, the year after Thomas’s death. They had four children, and

Ruth raised them all by herself while Ray was away for four years during World War II.

Like her mother Sarah, Ruth was very active in the Toowoomba Church of Christ. This church was

formed in Australia, and Ruth’s husband Ray became president of the church in Queensland. Ray

often used to preach. His dedication included pushing two of his young children in a pram for miles

across Toowoomba to preach at Harlaxton church on Sunday afternoons. Ruth assisted with Ladies

Groups and the Women’s Ministry. She helped establish Mylo Home for the aged, where she

eventually spent her last years.

Her son Ken became a minister, and her daughter Aileen was a missionary in Papua New Guinea for

many years. Ruth supported her daughter’s missionary work by writing to her every single week.

Ruth raised four children in her home in Rome Street. Her recipe will feed a large family.

Page 24: Grandma's Recipes

Ruth Draney


RRRRuth Draneyuth Draneyuth Draneyuth Draney’s recipe’s recipe’s recipe’s recipe

Raising a family through the church – the fifties

���� Mexicana mince

Mince was a staple food of Australian households. It was often fatty, so it was normal practice to boil the mince

in a pan of water first, to remove the fat. This recipe is the first one in all these hand-written recipe books that

refers to a world beyond English cookery. A sustaining meal to feed the whole family.


1 cup rice

1 tablespoon margarine

1 large onion

1½ teaspoons curry powder

salt and pepper

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced

1½ pounds mince (750 g)

1– 1½ pints water (700 mls)


Soak rice for 30 minutes.

Melt margarine in frypan.

Brown sliced onion.

Drain rice, add and coat well in margarine.

Add curry powder and salt and pepper. Cook for

a few minutes.

Add tomatoes, sprinkled with sugar if desired.

Cook a few minutes.

Add mince and water.

Cook 30 minutes at 260° F (160° C). Stir

frequently and add more water if required.

Page 25: Grandma's Recipes


Rea Rea Rea Rea FeatherstoneFeatherstoneFeatherstoneFeatherstone

The fifties housewife

Rea married Bill Featherstone in 1948. He was nineteen years older than her. Perhaps he did not

marry earlier because he was a young man during the Depression, and then he was away serving in

World War II. As a child at primary school, Rea’s contribution to the war was to knit socks for

servicemen, as she walked around the playground.

Rea was a stay-at-home mum, sewing clothes for her four children on her Singer sewing machine

housed in a silky oak cabinet made by her brother Stan. She loved to knit, and won a prize at a CWA

competition for speed knitting against stiff opposition. She knitted seven complete dresses between

the ages of 17 and 19, including a ballgown. Sadly, these dresses are lost to us.

Postwar shortages affected the home cook during the fifties, but the shortages gradually eased. Rea

has a number of recipes such as ‘mock chicken’, as she ‘made do’ with what she had. She

optimistically started this recipe book on the day I was born. In the sixties, we children would come

home to homemade slices and biscuits. She involved us all in bottling fruit in the Fowler’s Vacola.

These were simple times for the children, if not for the housewife. Rea graduated from boiling the

washing in a copper in the backyard to using a wringer machine about 1960. It took all Monday to

wash and iron for a family of six. So to have a simple recipe for Washday Pudding was handy,

because evening meals always included dessert . If it was ‘cook’s night off’, we would eat canned

tomato soup with jaffles – sandwiches toasted in an iron jaffle maker heated in the firebox of the

wood fire.

Page 26: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


Rea Featherstone’s recipesRea Featherstone’s recipesRea Featherstone’s recipesRea Featherstone’s recipes

The fifties housewife

Nibbles and snacks Preserves

� Mock chicken � Imitation apricot filling

Main course � Tomato and passionfruit jam

� Crunchy Norwegian casserole Hints

� French cabbage rolls � To polish cutlery and silver

� Savoury chops � Ivory knife handles

� Shepherd’s pie � For flies

Biscuits cakes and sweets � Curly wool

� 123 piecrust with stewed fruit

� Delicious lemon cheese for tarts

� Eggless chocolate cake

� Melting moments

� Neenish tarts

� Pumpkin fruit cake

� Pusher biscuits

� Rocky road

� Washday pudding

� Lamingtons

Page 27: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� Mock chicken

We frequently ate this spread on our white bread sandwiches for school lunches.


1 small onion

1 rounded teaspoon butter

1 tomato, skinned and chopped

1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon grated cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Cook onion slowly with butter, for about

10 minutes. Do not brown.

Add the tomato and herbs, and simmer for a few


Remove from heat. Add the beaten egg, salt and

pepper, and cheese, and beat well. If the egg

isn’t quite cooked, put back on the stove for a

minute or two.

Add 2 crushed shredded wheatmeal biscuits if

required to be thicker.

���� Crunchy Norwegian casserole

This was a Featherstone family favourite, often served in winter. Substitute chilli sauce if Tabasco is


Ingredients – white sauce

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup milk

Directions – white sauce

Melt butter and mix in flour.

Heat remaining milk separately.

Add a little warmed milk to the butter–flour

mixture and stir to prevent lumps. Add more

milk, stirring, and then add this mixture to the

rest of the warmed milk.

Cook until the sauce coats the back of a wooden


Ingredients – casserole

¾ cup green pepper

¾ cup onion

1 cup diced celery

7 ounces tuna (220 g)

3 ¾ ounce tin sardines (110 g)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 drops Tabasco sauce

1 cup thick white sauce


2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup cornflake crumbs

Directions – casserole

Combine and sauté vegetables.

Mix in other ingredients and top with the melted

butter and crumbs.

Cook in moderate oven (180° C) for 30 minutes.

Page 28: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� French cabbage rolls

Another way to serve mince – a cheap family meal. I think the garlic is the reason for the ‘French’ name, as it

was an unusual ingredient in the fifties.

Ingredients – filling

½ pound mince (250 g)

½ cup uncooked rice

½ cup soft breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons finely chopped onions

1 garlic clove

¼ teaspoon pepper

1½ teaspoon salt

2 large tablespoons margarine

12 tender cabbage leaves

Directions – cabbage rolls

Mix together all ingredients except cabbage


Simmer cabbage leaves in boiling water

3–5 minutes.

Remove leaves. Drain and cut out rib, then

spread with mixture. Roll firmly.

Stack closely in oven dish. Put on lid and cook

40 minutes in a moderate oven (180° C).

Pour sauce over cabbage rolls. Replace lid and

cook another 20 minutes.

Ingredients – sauce

2 ounces margarine

2 teaspoons onion

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoon flour


juice of a lemon

salt and pepper

Directions – sauce

Cook onions and garlic in melted margarine for

2 minutes.

Add plain flour and enough stock to make

creamy sauce.

Add lemon juice, salt and pepper.

���� Savoury chops

Mutton chops are no longer common, but it was everyday family food then.


1 pound stewing chops

4 slices bacon

1 carrot

1 onion

2 tablespoons flour plus salt and pepper, to

make seasoned flour

2 cups water


Trim chops and cut rind off bacon.

Scrape and slice carrot.

Peel and slice onion.

Roll chops in seasoned flour.

Into a pie dish place layers of chops, bacon,

carrot and onion. Add water.

Cover pie dish and bake in moderate oven

(180° C) for 1–1½ hours.

Page 29: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� Shepherd’s pie

This traditional dish warmed the family on cold winter nights.

Ingredients – stewed mince

1 pound mince (500 g)

1 onion


1 small carrot, grated

½ cup water

1½ teaspoons salt


2 tablespoons flour

1–2 tomatoes, sliced

Directions – stewed mince

Place meat, chopped onion, parsley and grated

carrot in a saucepan.

Add water, salt and pepper.

Cook over gentle heat until well cooked.

Add water if necessary.

Sprinkle flour over meat and mix well. Allow to


Pour into pie dish and cover with slices of

tomato, if desired.

Ingredients – mashed potato

4 large potatoes

1 rounded teaspoon butter

2–3 tablespoon milk

Directions – mashed potato

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks.

Add to boiling water and boil until very soft.


Return to saucepan. Add butter and a good dash

of milk.

Beat well until very smooth.

extra butter, melted

To assemble

Put the mince into a greased rectangular baking

dish, and top with mashed potato.

Use a fork to decorate the top, and brush with

melted butter.

Cook in a hot oven (230° C) for 15 minutes until

the top is golden brown.

Serve hot.

Page 30: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� 123 piecrust with stewed fruit

As easy to make as it is to remember: 1–2–3. I suggest baking in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.


1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons self-raising flour

Stewed fruit such as peach or quince


Mix ingredients together with fingers until

crumbly and sprinkle it thickly over cooked fruit.

Bake in usual way, but not too quickly.

���� Delicious lemon cheese for tarts

Rea used to say that the lemons must be fully ripe, and that the recipe will not set with Meyer lemons. This is

typical picnic food, served in a crumbed biscuit tart shell and eaten with a cup of hot tea while Bill and Uncle

Don painted watercolours of gum trees down by the creek.


1 tin condensed milk

rind and juice of 4 lemons

egg yolks

tart shell made of biscuit crumbs and melted

butter, chilled


Mix all ingredients well.

Spread mixture in tart shell.

Store in ice chest.

���� Eggless chocolate cake

There are many eggless recipes in Rea’s recipe book. This may be because of post-war shortages.


1 cup hot water

4 teaspoons golden syrup

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

3 tablespoons margarine

½ cup brown sugar

2 cups self-raising flour

2 tablespoons cocoa

pinch salt


Place ingredients in basin in order listed, up to

the flour.

When margarine has melted, add self-raising

flour and cocoa.

Mix thoroughly.

Bake in a moderate oven (180° C) about

25 minutes.

Page 31: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� Melting moments

A classic biscuit recipe. We often found these in the bikkie tin when we came home from school.


¼ to ½ pound butter (125–250 g)

2 ounces sugar (60 g)

4 ounces cornflour (125 g)


Beat butter and sugar to a cream then sift

cornflour in slowly.

Roll into walnut sized balls in the palms of the


Put on a greased paper on biscuit tray. Use a

fork to flatten onto the tray.

Bake in a moderate oven (180° C) about

10 minutes.

Sandwich pairs together with white icing.

���� Neenish tarts

Rea recommends these special-occasions tarts for afternoon tea, or to serve with coffee after dinner. Almond

meal should be used for the pastry, she says, but champagne pastry is good too.

Ingredients – champagne pastry

3 ounces butter (90 g)

¼ cup caster sugar

1 egg yolk

¾ cup flour

½ cup self-raising flour

pinch salt

1 tablespoon milk

Directions – champagne pastry

Cream butter and sugar.

Add egg yolk then sifted flour alternately with


Knead. Rest 15 minutes.

Roll out thinly.

Cut circles for tartlets. Prick with fork after

placing on tray to bake.

Bake 10 minutes at 375° F (190° C).

Makes about 20 small tart shells. Cool before


Ingredients – almond cream

3 ounces butter (90 g)

6 level tablespoons icing sugar

1½ tablespoons condensed milk

3 tablespoons honey

few drops almond essence

Directions – almond cream

Cream butter and icing sugar, then add the rest

of the ingredients.

Mix well.

Fill the small tart shells with almond cream,

smoothing it over so it is even with the tart


Chill in fridge.

Ingredients – icing

1 cup icing mixture

1 tablespoon butter

1½ tablespoons milk

Brown icing

1 tablespoon cocoa

Directions – icing

Make the white icing.

Halve, and add cocoa to one half to make brown


To assemble

Ice each filled tart half with white icing and half

with chocolate icing.

Page 32: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� Pumpkin fruit cake

This was Rea’s most famous recipe. A beautiful moist golden fruit cake.


½ pound butter (250 g)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup cold mashed pumpkin

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 packet mixed fruit (375 g)


Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs and beat well.

Add pumpkin and sifted dry ingredients, and

lastly mixed fruit.

Bake in a slow oven (150° C) 1½–2 hours.

���� Pusher biscuits

This buttery mix can be pushed through a metal biscuit maker tube using different inserts to make a variety of

decorative biscuits that look good for Christmas. Kids enjoy helping to make these.


2 ounces butter or dripping (60 g)

2 ounces sugar (60 g)

1 egg

6 ounces self-raising flour (180 g)

¼ teaspoon salt


Beat butter or dripping and sugar to a cream.

Add egg and sifted dry ingredients.

Mix and put mixture through pusher.

If mixture is too stiff for pusher, add a little

boiling water after adding flour.

Cook in moderate oven (180° C) about

10 minutes.


Vanilla fingers: add vanilla essence.

Strawberry cream: add strawberry essence and

join biscuits with strawberry icing.

Monte Carlos: Add 1 tablespoon honey. Join with

raspberry jam and vanilla icing.

Page 33: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� Rocky road

Rea has many recipes for sweets. The kids helped her make them for school fetes. Instead of Jellettes, make

different colours of packet jelly with half quantity of water. When the jellies are set, dice. You can also add



6 ounces marshmallows

4 ounces white shortening (Copha)

¾ cup sifted icing sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa


½ cup walnuts or peanuts

3 coloured Jellettes (chopped)


Cut marshmallows into small pieces.

Grease 7 inch square tin.

Melt shortening over gentle heat – it must

only be lukewarm.

Add to icing sugar, cocoa and vanilla.

Mix till smooth.

Fold through marshmallows, nuts and Jellette


Press into prepared tin, chill.

Cut into squares. Wrap if desired.

���� Washday pudding

Even after a day boiling the copper and folding the family washing, the family expected dessert. It needs no

sauce as it has enough.


1½ cups self-raising flour

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons boiling water

½ cup milk

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup boiling water, extra


Rub flour and butter together.

Add boiling water and milk. Mix well.

Cover with sugar, syrup, butter and 1 cup boiling


Stand basin in boiling water and steam ½ hour.

Do not cover basin with lid.

���� Tomato and passionfruit jam

Women used what they had on hand, and adapted recipes to use available ingredients. Rea also made jam

from rosellas, a native fruit.


2 pounds ripe tomatoes (1 kg)

1 pound peeled and cored apples (500 g)

6 passionfruit

3 pounds sugar (1.5 kg)


Peel and slice tomatoes and add chopped apples

and boil together until soft.

Add sugar. Stir until dissolved then boil the

mixture hard for about 30 minutes.

Add the passionfruit pulp. Boil again for

5 minutes.

Test the jam and continue to boil till setting

point is reached.

Bottle in sterilised jars.

Page 34: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� Imitation apricot filling

This surprising recipe is nice in tarts or biscuits. Don't mention it has choko and no-one will know what it really

is, Rea tells us. It’s important to mash the chokos well.


1 pound sugar (500 g)

1 pound tree tomatoes (tamarillos) (500 g)

4 or 5 chokos


Slice the tree tomatoes and cover with sugar.

Allow to stand overnight.

Peel and cook the chokos while sugar and tree

tomatoes are cooking.

Drain and mash chokos well or puree them.

Add to fruit–sugar mixture.

Cook until it jells.

���� Lamingtons

Lamingtons were invented in Toowoomba in 1896. Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland, used to spend

each summer at Harlaxton House. His cook, unable to bake the snowball cakes he liked, invented what we now

know as lamingtons.


½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup milk

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt


Cream butter and sugar, beating until very light.

Add beaten eggs and vanilla.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt.

Add some sifted dry ingredients to the mixture,

then some milk.

Continue adding flour then milk until it is all


Bake in greased and floured tin for about

20 minutes at 180° C.

Cut cooled cake into squares.

Roll each lamington in brown icing and dip in


Page 35: Grandma's Recipes

Rea Featherstone


���� To polish cutlery and silver

This imparts a brilliant polish, and cutlery will not require any special treatment if treated in this way every

fortnight. The mixture is also good for household silver.


1 cup yellow soap

1 cup washing soda

1 cup whiting


Dissolve all ingredients in a saucepan over a slow


Pour into a tin.

Place the cutlery in a dish with 2 teaspoons of

the mixture, pour in hot water, and wash in the

usual way.

Dry the cutlery while hot.

���� For ivory knife handles

Rea received ivory-handled knives for her wedding. You might find some at vintage markets.


lemon rind



Ivory knife handles will turn yellowish if they are

allowed to go without a periodical treatment of

being rubbed over with a piece of lemon rind

dipped in salt.

���� For flies

Rea’s answer for a constant problem.


½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cream


Mix well and place on plate in room.

���� For curly wool

Rea loved to knit. If one of the kids grew out of a jumper, this was how to recycle the wool.


unravelled wool from an old garment

aluminium saucepan


Wind wool round saucepan.

Fill saucepan with almost boiling water and allow

it to stand with wool round it, while there is any

heat in the water.

When removed wool is ready to reknit.

Page 36: Grandma's Recipes


Emmie FeatherstoneEmmie FeatherstoneEmmie FeatherstoneEmmie Featherstone

Country hospitality in town – the sixties

Emmie Gillam was descended from the family of Charles Gillam, gentleman, of Allora. She loved

horses, and rode well. Her daughter Rose inherited her love of animals, and they both share the

wonderfully warm sense of hospitality that is typical of country people.

Emmie, small and round, married Don Featherstone, tall and thin. They shared a warm relationship,

always teasing each other. There was usually a very chatty budgie in the kitchen, who could call the

dogs to come for dinner, sounding just like Emmie. There was usually at least one dog underfoot,

and our favourite cousin Rose’s cats, cockies and curlews roamed the back yard.

When television came to Toowoomba about 1960, Bill and Rea didn’t buy one. Often on a Sunday

night, the Ford Prefect with four children in the back would drive over to Don and Emmie’s to watch

TV. We were supposed to go home before the movie, but we children would try to get the adults

chatting so that they would not notice that the movie had started. Then we would need to stay for

supper, wouldn’t we? Saos with cheese and tomato, and a warm tea cake were Emmie’s favourites –

and ours.

Page 37: Grandma's Recipes

Emmie Featherstone


Emmie Featherstone’s recipesEmmie Featherstone’s recipesEmmie Featherstone’s recipesEmmie Featherstone’s recipes

Country hospitality in town – the sixties

���� Saos with cheese and tomato

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.


Sao biscuits

butter (not margarine)

tasty cheese

home-grown tomato

salt and pepper


Butter Sao biscuits.

Top with sliced tasty cheese and a slice of

home-grown tomato.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

���� Tea cake

Served warm, with cinnamon sugar that sticks to fingers.


1 large tablespoon butter

½ cup sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk


1 cup self-raising flour


Cream butter and sugar.

Add well-beaten egg, milk and vanilla, then flour.

Bake in a buttered tin, in a moderate oven

(180° C) for about 20 minutes.

Ingredients – topping

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon coconut

1 rounded teaspoon butter

Directions – topping

When the cake is nearly ready, mix topping


Smooth over hot cake. Put back in oven for a few


Serve hot or cold.

Page 38: Grandma's Recipes



From the editor

All these recipes came from hand-written recipe books. I have not cooked them all, so I can give no

assurance that the recipes work. However, I am sure you can trust these grandmothers, as they used

the recipes themselves. I would not suggest you try the home remedies, nor would I suggest that

making your own beer or coffee from these recipes is a good idea. As grandma would say, “Just use

your common sense!”

Where possible, I have provided Australian Standard metric conversions for imperial measurements,

based on the Macquarie Dictionary of Cooking, McMahon’s Point, N.S.W. , edited by Judy Jones in

1983. I have not attempted to provide equivalents for things like ‘2 shillings worth brandy’, or ‘large

tin malt’.

Cooking terms and ingredients

Cup – use a standard Australian measuring cup, whether you are using imperial measurements or

metric. There is little difference.

Hops, malt, Peruvian bark, syrup of senna – If you wish to prepare recipes using these ingredients, I

suggest you do your own research.

Oven temperatures

Moderately slow oven 330° F/170° C

Slow oven 250° F/150° C

Moderate oven 350° F/180° C

Hot oven 450° F/230° C

Page 39: Grandma's Recipes


PhotosPhotosPhotosPhotos Front


Lizzie Moody © Sandra Routley, Dot Featherstone © Roy Featherstone, Sarah Jane Bailey © Kenneth Draney, Elsie

McAllan, and Ruth Draney © Gay Middleton, Rea Featherstone © Spencer Featherstone, Emmie Featherstone ©

Spencer Featherstone

7 Rose’s wishes © Wendy Pang

11 Jack and Lizzie Moody © Sandra Routley

12 Lizzie Moody’s Yorkshire fruit cake recipe recorded by Sandra Routley © Wendy Pang

15 Lizzie Moody’s popovers recipe recorded by Sandra Routley © Wendy Pang

16 Dot Featherstone — Darlington, UK, about 1910 © Roy Featherstone

17 Dot Featherstone’s kisses and mock brains recipes © Wendy Pang

19 Joseph and Dot Featherstone, William and Elizabeth Hunt, and boys (L to R): Sydney, William, Joseph Charles, Eric

and Maurice © Roy Featherstone

22 Dot Featherstone’s recipe book dated 1931 © Wendy Pang

23 Sarah Jane Bailey © Gay Middleton

24 Sarah Bailey’s home at 168A Bridge St Toowoomba — 1960s © Gay Middleton

25 Elsie McAllan © Gay Middleton

26 Elsie McAllan, step-children Hughie and Eunice, and possibly husband Andy — about 1940 © Gay Middleton

27 Ruth Draney — about 1950 © Kenneth Draney

28 Church of Christ Toowoomba © Gay Middleton

29 Rea Featherstone © Spencer Featherstone

30 Featherstones — Bill, Rea, Spencer (obscured), Wendy, Judy, Roy and dog Andy — Toowoomba, about 1962 ©

Rose Komduur

33 Rea Featherstone’s recipe book dated 1952 © Wendy Pang

36 Rea Featherstone’s recipe for sardine scones © Wendy Pang

38 Christmas at home — Toowoomba 1960s © Roy Featherstone

40 Emmie Featherstone — Toowoomba 1970s © Spencer Featherstone

41 Featherstones — Emmie, Don, Dot with Lal and Rose in front — possibly 1950s © Rose Komduur

45 Wendy Pang © Robert Pang



Dot Featherstone, William and Elizabeth Hunt — Toowoomba about 1913 © Roy Featherstone

Page 40: Grandma's Recipes



Entree or snacks

Gem scones with anchovy butter 18

Mock chicken 31

Popovers 15

Saos with cheese and tomato 41

Main course

Crunchy Norwegian casserole 31

French cabbage rolls 32

Mexicana mince 28

Savoury chops 32

Shepherd’s pie 33

Side dishes

Bread and butter cucumbers 24

Mock brains 18

Tomato salad 19

Yorkshire pudding 15

Desserts and sweets

123 piecrust with stewed fruit 33

Delicious lemon cheese for tarts 34

Imitation apricot filling 38

Neenish tarts 35

Rocky road 37

Washday pudding 37

Biscuits and cakes

Christmas cake 26

Eggless chocolate cake 34

Lamingtons 38

Malt biscuits 19

Melting moments 34

Peanut parkins 13

Pumpkin fruit cake 36

Pusher biscuits 36

Sticky bread 13

Tea cake 41

Yorkshire bran loaf 13

Yorkshire cheese cake 26

Yorkshire fruit cake 14

Preserves and beverages

Beer 19

Coffee 20

Tomato and passionfruit jam 37

Home remedies and hints Cure for chilblains 20

Cure for indigestion 20

Cure for rheumatism 21

Egg mask 21

For curly wool 39

For flies 39

For ivory knife handles 39

Fruit salts 21

To soften hands 21

To polish cutlery and silver 38

Tonic for nervous and digestive systems 22

Page 41: Grandma's Recipes


Wendy PangWendy PangWendy PangWendy Pang

The editor

Wendy Pang is a baby-boomer, now taking time to reflect on where she came from. She went to

school at Toowoomba High School, like her mother, and then to the University of Queensland.

Wendy spent a year in France before marrying her Malaysian Chinese husband, Robert Pang, and

raising three children – Andrew, Kim and Michael. Wendy and Robert met in Brisbane and spent

seven years in Perth, where she taught in high schools, before moving to Canberra in 1984. She

joined the Public Service and worked in computing and departmental libraries before becoming a

website manager. She enjoys quilting and founded Australia’s first online quilt group, who later

created a Bicentennial figure in her honour. She has won gold medals at the Australian Masters

Rowing Championships. She inherited a sweet tooth from her mother, and enjoys cooking cakes and

biscuits. Most of the household cooking is done by her husband, and they both agree that this is a

good thing.

Page 42: Grandma's Recipes
Page 43: Grandma's Recipes

Grandma’s recipes brings together recipes from a group of women related to the editor. They lived

in Toowoomba, Queensland, from 1910 onwards. The recipes represent home-cooking through the

twentieth century, when the Depression and World War II affected daily lives dramatically. Reading

the recipes offers a glimpse of the lives of mothers and home-makers – a role that is hidden from

society at large, but represents a big influence on family, friends and neighbours.

Wendy Pang presents recipes with metric measurements where possible, so that they can be

enjoyed today. There are also recipes that readers will wonder at, but probably not want to recreate

– like recipes for making coffee from wheat.

Enjoy the recipes. Cook them, and remember the hard-working women who went before us.